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7 Feb 2011 : Column 64Wcontinued
Jason McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the allocation of funding by his Department to the Family Rights Group Kinship helpline in the next three years. 
Sarah Teather: The Department opened a new procurement process on 6 December 2010 to fund family support telephone helplines and online services from April 2011. One of the aims of the family services procurement is to support children and young people in England through supporting their parents and families, with a particular focus on early intervention support for the most disadvantaged parents and families. The Family Rights Group was eligible to submit an application under this process.
For commercial reasons, I cannot comment on any applications we have received from individual organisations until the outcome of the procurement process has been completed. I will write to the hon. Member to let him know the outcome once the procurement process is completed.
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the future of the British Council's language teaching assistantship scheme. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 27 January 2011]: The Language Assistants programme, which is managed for the Department by the British Council, will continue. The programme supports departmental and Government priorities by exposing pupils in our schools to mother-tongue speakers of other languages through the intake of foreign language assistants; and provides an opportunity for undergraduates from our universities to immerse themselves in a foreign language while working as an English language assistant in a school abroad.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what his policy is on maintaining present levels of access for mature students to higher education courses. 
Mr Willetts: I have been asked to reply.
Access to higher education is based on ability not age. Latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that almost two thirds of the student population are mature students. This Government are introducing reforms to the system of higher education (HE) funding aimed at producing a more sustainable environment to support access for those who can most benefit from all ages and backgrounds. We will provide up-front funding for tuition costs to those eligible first-time undergraduates who can secure a university place-both young people and mature students. For the first time, we are making loans available to eligible part-time students, living in England. Our National Scholarship Programme will be open to disadvantaged students with potential, irrespective of age.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to take steps to replace national indicator 71 on missing children and adults. 
Tim Loughton: Final decisions are yet to be made on future data collections.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which local authorities have in place those procedures and protocols on the actions to be taken when children in care go missing or run away recommended in the statutory guidance published in July 2009. 
Tim Loughton: This information is not collected centrally. However, all local authorities should be following statutory guidance.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information his Department holds on the number of return interviews with children who had gone missing which were carried out in each local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Tim Loughton: This information is not collected centrally.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to improve the collection of national data on children who run away or go missing; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department collects information on the number of looked after children absent for more than 24 hours from their agreed placement. However, it is the responsibility of local authorities to safeguard and promote the well-being of children in their care, and they will hold more detailed information on each child who has gone missing from their care. They are expected to use this to inform their processes and
procedures, and the training of staff and carers, to minimise the risk of children going missing from local placements.
Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what procedures are in place in his Department to monitor the implementation by local authorities of the statutory guidance of July 2009 on children who run away or go missing from their home or care; and if he will make a statement. 
Tim Loughton: All local authorities should follow statutory guidance. The Department does not propose to monitor implementation. "Statutory Guidance on Children who Run Away and Go Missing from Home or Care" requires local authorities to collect information about missing from care incidents. Local Runaway and Missing from Home and Care protocols set out the arrangements for sharing this information with the police to make sure that action is taken to locate the child and minimise the likelihood of their going missing in future. Local authorities should make regular reports to council members with responsibility for "corporate parenting" on patterns of children going missing from care.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will rank all secondary schools within each local authority area according to the proportion of children eligible for free school meals in January 2010 and indicate the category of school in each such case. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 24 January 2011]: The requested information has been placed in the House Libraries.
This information includes full time pupils aged 0 to 15 and part time pupils aged 5 to 15 known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals.
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what account of birth rates is taken in planning pupil placing; 
(2) what account he takes of existing trends in pupil numbers when determining future projections of pupil numbers in primary and secondary schools in the London borough of Newham. 
Mr Gibb: Planning for future provision of school places is the statutory responsibility of local authorities. Ministers play no role in deciding future primary and secondary school provision in individual authorities. It is for each local authority to ensure there are sufficient school places to meet the needs of the population and to review the position regularly.
As part of their strategic responsibility for school provision, local authorities prepare their own pupil number forecasts based on their knowledge of local circumstances. In producing these forecasts, local authorities are best placed to determine which local factors should be taken into account and the sources of information
they use, for example local birth rate information, existing trends in pupil numbers, net migration and housing developments.
Julian Sturdy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department has reached a decision on funding for schools in York Outer constituency for the period of the comprehensive spending review; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gibb: On 13 December, the Department announced the school funding allocations for 2011-12. We have protected school funding in the system at flat cash per pupil, before adding the pupil premium. Flat cash per pupil means that as pupil numbers go up, the overall budget goes up in line. It is now for local authorities to work with their schools forum to produce the 2011-12 budgets for their individual maintained schools.
The funding levels for schools in York and other authorities from 2012-13 and beyond will be subject to review. As we set out in the Schools White Paper-"The Importance of Teaching"-we will consult this spring on developing and introducing a clear, transparent and fairer national funding formula based on the needs of pupils.
Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the effects of his Department's funding settlement for the comprehensive spending review period on expenditure on new school sports equipment. 
Tim Loughton: The Schools White Paper, "The Importance of Teaching", sets out the Government's approach to school funding. We believe that the school funding system needs radical reform to make it more transparent, fairer and progressive. We have protected the schools budget in the recent spending review, at a time when cutting the budget deficit is an urgent national priority. It is for schools to decide what to spend on sports equipment, or on equipment for other areas of the curriculum.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to ring-fence within school and college budgets their allocation of proposed enhanced discretionary learner support funds. 
Mr Gibb: Under current arrangements discretionary learner support funds are allocated as a discrete budget which can be used only for that purpose. We expect that the enhanced learner support fund will build on these arrangements. We are working with schools, colleges and other stakeholders as we finalise the details of how the enhanced fund will operate. That work will also be informed by the work of the Government's Advocate for Access to Education, the right hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes).
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is considering any changes to the Carbon Reduction Commitment beyond those announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Government are committed to simplifying the carbon reduction commitment (CRC) energy efficiency scheme. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a consultation paper on a first tranche of simplifications to the CRC last year which included delaying the start of the second phase and removing the requirement to register on information declarers. As previously announced it is DECC's intention to deliver further simplification for the second phase of the CRC and detailed options are being discussed with CRC participants. Decisions about allowance sales and price are a matter for the Chancellor.
Mr David Davis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies have had outstanding tax liability of more than £100 million forgiven by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in each of the last five years; and what the monetary value was of the liability forgiven by HMRC in each year. 
Mr Gauke: HMRC does not "forgive" tax. Where a company is unable to meet its tax liabilities HMRC will seek arrangements to obtain the tax. Tax will only be written off when it is clearly not recoverable.
In seeking to determine tax liabilities HMRC will engage with taxpayers and their advisors to resolve disputes of fact and/or law. Such discussions can be complex and may involve grey areas within the tax system. If HMRC is unable to agree an appropriate settlement it will look to litigation or some form of arbitration.
Under its normal rules of confidentiality HMRC cannot reveal details of individual settlements.
Henry Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress has been made on payment of compensation to Equitable Life trapped annuitants. 
Mr Hoban: The Government have announced that they will cover the full cost of losses to eligible with-profits annuitants. This will be paid through ongoing regular payments.
The Treasury is in the process of preparing a detailed scheme design document that sets out the practical and delivery implications of the scheme. I will make this available for parliamentary scrutiny in the spring. This will allow final preparations for payments to be made. The Government's ambition is to start making payments in the middle of 2011.
Mr Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the average daily net financial contribution of the UK to the EU in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Justine Greening: The latest figures available on the UK's gross and net contributions in sterling were included in the Table 1.6 of the Public Finances Supplementary Data to the Office for Budget Responsibility's autumn forecast, published on 29 November and available on the OBR website.
The last outturn data on UK's 'Net contribution to the EU budget' (which only takes into account public sector receipts from the EU) refers to the UK budgetary year 2009-10, and is £4.7 billion. This corresponds to a daily net contribution of around £12.9 million.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effects on the renewable transport fuel industry of the level of duty for biodiesel produced from used cooking oil. 
Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend (Norman Baker), on 13 December 2010, Official Report, column 509W, to the hon. Member for Congleton (Fiona Bruce). The Government routinely discusses tax matters with industry stakeholders and the Chancellor keeps all taxes under review along Budget timelines.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he plans to change the three per cent. taxation rate on diesel fuel. 
Justine Greening: The company car tax calculation for diesel powered cars includes a 3% supplement for all but early adopters of Euro 4 clean air emissions technology. The Chancellor keeps all taxes under review along Budget timelines.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of respondents to his Department's consultation on a gross profits tax on gaming machines were (a) supportive of and (b) opposed to the proposal. 
Justine Greening: The Government's response to the consultation contains further information on the responses received, and can be found online at:
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many gambling companies have requested meetings with Ministers and officials of his Department to discuss
the implications of a gross profits tax on gaming machines since the publication of the proposal; and how many such meetings there have been. 
Justine Greening: Treasury Ministers and officials meet representatives from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and implementation. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.
The Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations, available at:
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the publication in January 2011 of draft legislation on the imposition of a Machine Games Duty is consistent with his Department's commitment in Tax Policy Making: Draft Tax Consultation Framework, 9 December 2010, Chapter 2, paragraph 6, to (a) publish draft tax legislation at least three months before they are laid before Parliament and (b) provide at least eight weeks for comment on draft tax legislation before it is laid before Parliament. 
Justine Greening: The Government's current plan for taking forward machine games duty is to consult on draft legislation by early summer, with the intention of legislating in Finance Bill 2012.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what impact assessments have been conducted to analyse the potential effect of a machine games duty on the industry by (a) his Department and (b) external consultants; and what assessment has been made of the effect of these proposals on (i) adult amusement centres, (ii) coastal town economies and (iii) the wider tourism industry. 
Justine Greening: The Government are seeking further input from industry on machine games duty, and it is intended that a formal consultation will be held by early summer.
Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on achieving fiscal neutrality with respect to machines in betting shops. 
Justine Greening: Fiscal neutrality is an important principle, requiring that supplies of similar goods or services be treated in the same way for VAT purposes to avoid any distortion of competition.
The VAT treatment in respect of certain gaming machines is currently subject to legal challenge. The Court of Appeal and the Upper Tribunal have both made references to the European Court of Justice seeking advice on the interpretation and application of the fiscal neutrality principle in these specific circumstances.
We await the rulings from the European Court of Justice.
Mr Ward: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Bradford East constituency will no longer pay income tax as a result of the decision to increase the personal allowance by £1,000. 
Mr Gauke: The number of persons taken out of income tax as a result of the £1,000 increase in the personal allowance in 2011-12 in the U.K. is estimated to be 880,000.
This estimate is based on 2007-08 Survey of Personal Incomes data projected to 2011-12 in line with the June 2010 Budget assumptions.
It not possible to produce reliable estimates for parliamentary constituencies due to small sample sizes at these levels of geography.
Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people paid income tax at the higher rate in each year since 1988. 
Mr Gauke: Estimates for the number of higher rate taxpayers for 1990-91 onwards are shown in Table 2.1 'Number of individual income taxpayers' which can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:
Estimates for earlier years are shown in table 2.1a 'Number of taxpayers and income tax liabilities' which can be found on the HM Revenue and Customs website at:
These estimates are based on the annual Survey of Personal Incomes. Latest available survey data are for 2007-08, with projections for 2008-09 to 2010-11 based on economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's autumn forecast 2010.
Tristram Hunt: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Bristol East of 21 July 2010, Official Report, column 387W, on Revenue and Customs: telephone services, when he expects HM Revenue and Customs to complete its review of its telephone numbering strategy. 
Mr Gauke: HMRC initially planned to conclude its review of its telephone numbering strategy by 31 March 2011. Since the review commenced, Ofcom has announced a consultation entitled "Simplifying Non-Geographic Numbers (Improving consumer confidence in 03, 08, 09, 118 and other non-geographic numbers)". The findings from the Ofcom consultation are due in spring 2011 and HMRC will conclude its review once it has considered the findings of the consultation.
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the effects of his economic and fiscal policies on the high technology manufacturing
sector in the City of Derby; and if he will make a statement. 
Justine Greening: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing the official economic and fiscal forecasts. The OBR's Budget forecast does not include a sub-national forecast.
The Treasury is leading a Growth Review, jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, in order to create the conditions for economic growth and to improve the dynamism of the UK business environment. This will cover issues of importance to technology based companies including access to finance, better regulation and competition. In its first phase, the review is focusing on a number of sectors with a high technology content including advanced manufacturing, business and professional services, digital and creative industries, and health care and life sciences. A first report will be made by Budget 2011.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the purpose was of the payment of £4,981 by the Audit Commission to Thomas Telford Ltd in May 2010; how many officials attended the conference to which the payment related; and for what reason. 
Robert Neill: This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I will ask the chief executive of the Audit Commission to respond to my hon. Friend direct.
Letter from Eugene Sullivan, dated 7 February 2011:
Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.
The purpose of the payment of £4,981 to Thomas Telford Ltd was for the Audit Commission's 6th Annual Lecture that took place in July 2010.
This event is attended by MPs, Directors from government agencies, Chief Executives of local authorities and health authorities, our contract partners, and trade and professional associations. It provides an opportunity for the Commission to stimulate and promote discussion on topics of interest to the public sector; and to those with an interest in the organisation's work. Previous speakers have included Lord Heseltine and Sir Gus O'Donnell. The guest speaker on this occasion was Professor Anthony King.
One hundred and seventeen people attended this event. Some who indicated that they would attend did not do so.
In July 2010, the Commission decided not to hold any further Annual Lecture events.
Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) purpose and (b) cost was of the sundry debtor expenditure incurred by the Audit Commission in September 2010 relating to (i) Brook Green UK, (ii) Dish, (iii) Event Ensembles, (iv) Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises, (v) jwflowers.com and (vi) Leiths At the Centre. 
This is an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the chief executive of the Audit Commission to write to my hon. Friend
direct. However, I would comment that this illustrates how transparency can highlight wasteful spending. Particularly at a time when the public finances are in such a poor state, it is simply unacceptable for a public body-indeed a spending watchdog-to be using taxpayers' money (intended to be spent on promoting auditing best practice) to subsidise a string quartet and extravagant flower displays.
Letter from Eugene Sullivan, dated 7 February 2011:
Your Parliamentary Question has been passed to me to reply.
The purpose of the sundry debtor expenditure incurred by the Audit Commission in September 2010 was for the Eurorai Congress held in October 2010.
Eurorai is a network of over 70 regional audit bodies in Europe that has been in place for nearly 20 years. In 2007, we agreed that we would act as the host and, at the time our abolition was announced, plans had been underway to organise the congress for three years.
Following the Secretary of State's abolition announcement on 13 August 2010, we considered our position and, after discussion with Department for Communities and Local Government officials, we agreed to go ahead with the congress and fulfil our commitment.
The congress was fully funded by Eurorai, and the dinner by a contribution from the Audit Commission and partner agencies, including from the accountancy profession and some private sector audit firms.
The Audit Commission's contribution to the dinner was £5,000 and is not associated with any particular item of expenditure. All other expenses have been refunded by Eurorai or the partner agencies.
Details of the costs are:
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 304W, on Faithwise Ltd: contracts, how much his Department has paid to Faithwise Ltd. since the beginning of the original contract. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 4 February 2011]: The Department has paid £368,666.14 inclusive of VAT to Faithwise since the beginning of the contract on 1 January 2007.
Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 304W, on Faithwise Ltd: contracts, if he will undertake a value for money assessment of the Faithwise consultancy contract. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 4 February 2011]: The Faithwise contract has been assessed for value for money on the basis of cost. We have terminated the contract.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on how many occasions he has met representatives of the Local Government Association since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and his ministerial team have met representatives of the Local Government Association 47 times.
Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what level of unspecified savings he considers it acceptable for local councils to include when setting their budgets. 
Robert Neill: There are many factors to be considered in setting budgets and these factors are best assessed at the local level. Local authorities are responsible for their own finances, and spending and budgeting decisions are for individual councils to make. Local authorities are required to set their budgets in accordance with their legal and fiduciary responsibilities.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to assess the extent to which the Government's localism agenda raises accountability issues; and if he will make a statement. 
Greg Clark [holding answer 2 February 2011]: The Government are committed to strengthening local democratic accountability for local services and reversing the build up of bureaucratic central burdens that in recent years have increasingly prevented local leaders acting in the best interests of their communities. Increasing accountability goes hand in hand with localism. That is why the Government are, for example:
Replacing the central imposition of council tax caps and instead giving local people the right to veto excessive increases in a referendum;
Providing for directly elected mayors in 12 English cities, subject to approval in a referendum, and introducing directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners to replace unelected police authorities;
Requesting that local authorities publish every item of expenditure over £500, so local residents can more easily hold them to account for their use of taxpayers money.
Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what definition of the term localism his Department uses. 
This Government have been clear that they want to see a radical redistribution of power away from central Government to local communities and people. In December I published "Decentralisation and
the Localism Bill: an essential guide" which sets out the six essential actions required to deliver decentralisation down through every level of government to every citizen.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what costs his Department has incurred in respect of the provision of information to the electorate on the (a) operation and (b) voting system for the London Assembly since the creation of the Assembly; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: It is for the Mayor and London Assembly to determine how much funding from the Greater London authority's budget should be allocated for the provision of information to the London electorate about the voting system and operation of the Assembly. My Department provides a contribution to the Authority's budget through a block grant, the General Greater London authority grant, but cannot specify how this funding is spent; the rest of the budget is funded by the Authority's council tax precept.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to introduce a fit and proper person test for mobile home owners; and if he will make a statement. 
Grant Shapps: Although I have no plans to introduce a fit and proper test for mobile home owners at present; I do intend shortly announce a series of other measures that I have in mind to better protect mobile home occupiers.
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of elections to parish councils that were uncontested in each year since 1991. 
Robert Neill: We have made no such estimates.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which registered social landlords have notified the Tenant Services Authority of an intention to dispose of properties (a) in and (b) after 2011-12; and how many properties and what proportion of housing stock is to be disposed of in each case. 
Grant Shapps: Private registered providers (previously known as 'registered social landlords') of social housing must apply for consent from the social housing regulator, the Tenant Services Authority, to dispose of property. The Tenant Services Authority collects data through its regulatory statistical return for disposals in previous years. However there is no requirement for providers to inform the Tenant Services Authority in advance of their intention to dispose at some point in the future.
Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on how many occasions he has met representatives of the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities since May 2010. 
Robert Neill: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and members of the ministerial team have met representatives of the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities three times.
Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date his Department's contract with Atos Origin is due for renewal. 
Chris Grayling: The DWP Medical Services contract was awarded to Atos Healthcare, a division of Atos Origin, in 2005 for a period of seven years, with the option to extend for a further three and then for a further two. In 2009, the Department negotiated an extension to the contract to 31 August 2015 in order to allow for the completion of incapacity benefit (IB) to ESA migration.
Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 21 December 2010, Official Report, column 1180W, on cold weather payments, what temperatures were recorded at St Athan Weather Station between 17 December and 23 December 2009. 
Steve Webb: Meteorological (Met) Office data for the St Athan weather station for recorded temperatures between 17 December and 23 December 2009 was as follows:
|Temperature (° C)|
|Date||Daily max( 1)||Daily min( 1)||Mean daily NCM( 1)|
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his estimates of marginal rates of withdrawal in the welfare reform White Paper take account of payments of council tax benefit. 
Steve Webb: All analysis presented to date includes the 20% council tax benefit taper when looking at marginal deduction rates in the current tax and benefit system. It also includes council tax support within the universal credit and is subject to the single overall taper of 65% when calculating marginal deduction rates under universal credit.
The Government's announcement that they would give local authorities more say on the administration of council tax benefit will have implications for universal credit. As stated in the recent White Paper, "Universal Credit: Welfare That Works", the Government will work closely with local government and the devolved Administrations to develop the details of the proposal and to ensure that this reform does not undermine the positive impact of universal credit on work incentives.
Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people in receipt of council tax benefit are in employment; 
(2) what the average weekly council tax benefit payment was to (a) claimants of working age and (b) pensioners in each local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(3) what the average weekly council tax benefit payment to recipients in work was in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(4) how many persons in receipt of council tax benefit are in employment in each local authority area; 
(5) what the average weekly council tax benefit payment was for claimants in work in each local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Steve Webb: The information requested regarding the economic status of council tax benefit (CTB) recipients is not available.
A copy of the available information has been placed in the Library.
1. The data refer to benefit units, which may be a single person or a couple.
2. Case load figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Average awards are shown as pounds per week and rounded to the nearest penny.
3. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems.
It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns.
The data are available monthly from November 2008 and October 2010 is the latest available.
4. Data from SHBE incorporate the local authority changes from 1 April 2009.
5. Totals may not sum due to rounding.
6. People claiming council tax benefit not in receipt of a passported benefit are recorded as being in employment if their local authority has recorded employment income from either the main claimant, or partner of claimant (if applicable), in calculating the housing benefit award. People receiving passported benefits who are working part-time cannot be identified.
7. Age groups are based on the age on the count date (second Thursday in the month), of either:
(a) the recipient if they are single, or
(b) the elder of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple
8. Those local authorities shown in bold relate to an earlier or later month because of missing or incomplete data.
Numbers differ slightly due to recipients movements between LAs.
9. Housing benefit caseload and average weekly amounts are available at local authority area level and these are published on the Department's website at
Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE).
Conor Burns: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to the public purse was of the manufacture and distribution of Department branded drinks coasters in the last financial year for which figures are available. 
Chris Grayling: Nothing has been spent by DWP on Department branded drinks coasters in the current financial year (2010-11) and £1,468.49 was spent in 2009-10.
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what single tender contracts his Department has awarded since his appointment; and what the monetary value is of each contract above the EU public procurement threshold. 
Chris Grayling: A total of 50 contracts have been awarded by single tender over the period from 12 May 2010 to present date. The majority are science research and technical support requirements for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), and research contracts.
The total number of single tender contracts awarded with an anticipated value above EU public procurement thresholds (taken as £101,000 or €393,000) is 12.
The information has been placed in the Library comprising details of all single tender contracts (50) as specifically requested, and identifying 12 of those contracts as above the relevant threshold.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what regulations his Department has removed since 6 May 2010. 
Chris Grayling: The Employment and Support Allowance (Transitional Provisions, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) (Existing Awards) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/875) were revoked by the Employment and Support Allowance (Transitional Provisions, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit) (Existing Awards) (Revocation) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/1906)
The following regulations were revoked by the Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/2128):
The Disability Discrimination (Meaning of Disability) Regulations 1996 (S.I. 1996/1455)
The Disability Discrimination (Providers of Services) (Adjustment of Premises) Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/3253)
The Disability Discrimination (Blind and Partially Sighted Persons) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/712)
The Disability Discrimination (Employment Field) (Leasehold Premises) Regulations 2004 (S.I. 2004/153)
The Disability Discrimination (Educational Institutions) (Alteration of Leasehold Premises) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/1070)
The Disability Discrimination (Service Providers and Public Authorities Carrying Out Functions) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2901)
The Disability Discrimination (Private Clubs etc) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/3258)
The Disability Discrimination (Premises) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/887).
The Vaccine Damage Payment (Specified Disease) Order (S.I. 2009/2516) was revoked by the Vaccine Damage Payments (Specified Disease) (Revocation and Savings) Order 2010 (S.I. 2010/1988).
The Transfer of State Pensions and Benefits Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 (SR (NI) 2007/286) were revoked by the Transfer of State Pensions and Benefits (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (S.I. 2010/1825).
Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in receipt of disability living allowance and aged between 25 and 35 years are resident in (a) Dumfries and Galloway local authority area and (b) Dumfries and Galloway constituency; and how many of these are also in receipt of (i) housing benefit and (ii) local housing allowance. 
Maria Miller: The number of people in receipt of disability living allowance and aged between 25 and 35 years (inclusive) resident in (a) Dumfries and Galloway local authority area and (b) Dumfries and Galloway constituency are provided in the following table.
The numbers also in receipt of (i) housing benefit and (ii) local housing allowance are not available. Information is available on the number of housing benefit claimants in receipt of a passporting benefit. However because disability living allowance is not a housing benefit passporting benefit the number of DLA claimants also receiving housing benefit is not available.
|All||Age of claimant|
|25 to 35 (inclusive)||Other|
| Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Figures do not include people with entitlement where the payment has been suspended, for example if they are in hospital. 3. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010. Source: DWP Information Directorate: Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study, May 2010|
Mr Gordon Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of claimants of employment and support allowance in Fife local authority area have been judged fit for work since May 2008; how many appeals against such determinations were initiated; and how many such appeals were granted. 
Chris Grayling: Employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced in October 2008. Eligibility for ESA is determined by the Work Capability Assessment (WCA).
Between October 2008 and May 2010 (the latest data available), 3,220 or 46% of people who made an application for ESA in the Fife local authority area were found fit for work at the initial WCA.
There have been 890 appeals concluded from people who started their claim for ESA in Fife between October 2008 and November 2009 (the latest data available). These are cases that have been found fit for work at initial WCA, have appealed this decision and had their appeal heard by the Tribunals Service. Of those appeals that have been heard, 390 found in favour of the appellant, meaning their entitlement to ESA was reinstated.
Information on the number of appeals that have been initiated but not yet concluded is not available.
Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to the Tribunals Service and heard, it is likely there are more appeals that have not yet been heard, so the number of appeals is likely to change as more up to date information becomes available. The data presented above come from benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, functional assessment data from Atos Healthcare and appeals data from the Tribunals Service. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10.
The Department regularly publishes official statistics on ESA and the WCA. The latest report was published in January 2011 and can be found on the internet at the following link:
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 28 October 2010, Official Report, column 432W, on employment
and support allowance: Scotland, what proportion of the 37 per cent. of claimants for employment and support allowance that terminated their claims before their assessment was completed (a) entered employment, (b) claimed jobseeker's allowance and (c) claimed income support between October 2008 and February 2010. 
Chris Grayling: Of people claiming employment support allowance (ESA) in Scotland who ended their claim between October 2008 and February 2010 before their work capability assessment (WCA) was complete, administrative data shows that:
31% claimed jobseeker's allowance; and
4% claimed income support.
Note that for 43% of leavers the destination is not known. Only destinations which occur within six weeks of the end of the ESA claim are recorded. These statistics are based on combining information on people claiming ESA who ended their claim before completing assessment with information on the destination of people leaving benefit.
Statistics on the number of people leaving ESA and going into work are not available from administrative data. However a recent survey on ESA ("Employment and Support Allowance: Findings from a face-to-face survey of customers") recorded that around 41% of participants who left ESA before completing assessment had then moved into some form of employment. This would account for a substantial proportion of the 43% of leavers with an unknown destination. See section 5.3, page 70 onwards of the survey for further details:
Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 25 January 2011, Official Report, columns 5-6WS, on incapacity benefit reassessment, how many of the incapacity benefit customers reassessed in the trials taking place in Aberdeen and Burnley were (a) placed in the employment and support allowance (ESA) support group, (b) placed in the work-related activity group and (c) found ineligible for ESA; and how many of those found ineligible for ESA have subsequently made a claim for jobseeker's allowance. 
Chris Grayling: The IB re-assessment trials have been running in Aberdeen and Burnley since October 2010. In total 1,700 people will go through the IB reassessment process in these areas.
As the trials have not yet concluded, we do not have complete information on the results of the work capability assessments that have been carried out nor their subsequent destinations. Prior to national reassessment, the Department will be examining the available information on outcomes of work capability assessments conducted as part of the trial.
The Department is also conducting research into the views and experiences of customers and staff involved in trial IB reassessment. A report of this will be published in the DWP research report series in spring 2011.
Mr Gordon Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Fife local authority area and (b) Scotland have been placed into employment as a result of funding from the Future Jobs Fund in each year since the scheme's inception. 
Chris Grayling: The most recent Young Person's Guarantee statistics were published on 19 January 2011 and are available here:
Statistics are available on the Future Jobs Fund which covers the period from October 2009 to the end of October 2010. They show that there were 7,740 recorded Future Jobs Fund starts in Scotland. Of which 430 were in the Fife local authority area.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will assess the effects of his proposed cap on the level of household benefits on the number of applications for disability living allowance. 
Maria Miller: Households which include a member who is receiving disability living allowance will be exempt from the impacts of the benefit cap. This is in acknowledgement that DLA recipients face additional costs of every day living.
Claims for disability living allowance will continue to be determined by the assessment process.
We are unable to predict the effects of the benefit cap on the number of applications for disability living allowance.
On 6 December we launched a consultation on the reform of disability living allowance with the key proposal of a new benefit, to be known as personal independence payment, which will be introduced from 2013. The consultation proposed that personal independence payment should be subject to a new, more objective assessment process enabling us to more accurately and consistently assess individuals to determine who will benefit most from additional support.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 300W, on methane: natural gas, whether the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996 cover (a) onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane and (b) hydraulic fracturing. 
Chris Grayling: HSE has regulatory responsibility for the safety of these activities and so as Minister responsible for Health and Safety I am providing a response to this question. I can confirm that well construction and well integrity activities associated with onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane, and hydraulic fracturing, are within scope of the Offshore Installations and Wells (Design and Construction, etc.) Regulations 1996.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 300W, on methane: natural gas, what the legislative and regulatory provisions refer specifically to (a) onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane and (b) hydraulic fracturing; and whether such provisions have been reviewed and amended in the last two years. 
Chris Grayling: HSE has regulatory responsibility for the safety of these activities and so as Minister responsible for Health and Safety I am providing a response to this question. I can confirm that no health and safety legislation specifically refers to onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane, or hydraulic fracturing.
The Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, and most of the regulations made under the Act apply to these work activities. Some regulations (e.g. Offshore Installation and Wells (Design and Construction, etc) Regulations 1996 and the Borehole Sites and Operations Regulations 1995) place specific requirements on work activities associated with the onshore extraction of petroleum (oil or gas), which includes onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane.
The regulations which place specific requirements on work activities associated with the onshore extraction of petroleum have not been reviewed or amended in the last two years, but the guidance to these regulations was updated in 2008.
I refer the hon. Member to the answer which the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry), gave to you on 24 January 2011, Official Report, column 67W. This sets out the other regulatory bodies and provisions in place relevant to these activities.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 300W, on methane: natural gas, whether he has had recent discussions at Ministerial or official level on the preparedness of the Health and Safety Executive for onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane using hydraulic fracturing. 
Chris Grayling: HSE has regulatory responsibility for the safety of these activities and so as Minister responsible for Health and Safety I am providing a response to this question. The Health and Safety Executive have confirmed to me their preparedness for onshore drilling for shale gas and coal bed methane using hydraulic fracturing.
David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the suitability of the work capability assessment for people with (a) Parkinson's disease and (b) other long-term fluctuating neurological conditions. 
Chris Grayling: The WCA is a functional assessment-it is not based on someone's diagnosis or health condition but on their functional capability. It is based on the principle that a health condition or disability should not automatically be regarded as a barrier to work and aims to identify whether an individual, with the right support, could prepare for a return to suitable work.
The WCA is designed to recognise fluctuating conditions-rather than being a 'snap shot', it looks at capability most of the time: if someone is unable to do something reliably, repeatedly and safely they are considered unable to do it at all.
Having accepted all the recommendations of Professor Harrington's first independent review, we have now appointed him to conduct a second independent review in which he will focus in particular on fluctuating conditions. Professor Harrington will work with organisations representing people with fluctuating conditions to review and recommend improvements to the assessment.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the number of couples choosing to live apart for financial reasons of his proposed cap on the maximum annual amount of benefits one family can claim. 
Chris Grayling: No assessment has been made of the likely effects on the number of families choosing to live apart as a result of the household cap on total benefit income.
Mr Gordon Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of the working age population of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency are in receipt of (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) unemployment allowance, (c) carer's allowance, (d) disability living allowance, (e) widow's or bereavement benefit and (f) other income support. 
Chris Grayling: The information is as follows:
|Working age client group split by statistical group in Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, May 2010|
|Statistical group||Caseload||Percentage of population|
| Notes: 1. Data are rounded to the nearest 10, percentages to one decimal place. 2. Constituencies used are for the Westminster Parliament of May 2010. 3. Percentage population figures have been calculated using General Register Office for Scotland population estimates as at 2008 for working age claimants, i.e. males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to 59. 4. State pension age: The age at which women reach state pension age will gradually increase from 60 to 65 between April 2010 and April 2020. This will introduce a small increase to the number of working age benefit recipients and a small reduction to the number of pension age recipients. As percentages were required this table has been prepared using males aged 16 to 64 and females aged 16 to 59 and will therefore not match published figures. 5. Statistical group is a hierarchical variable. A person who fits into more than one category will appear only in the top-most one for which they are eligible. For example a claimant of disability living allowance and jobseeker's allowance would appear in "Job seeker", not in "Disabled". 6. Lone parents are defined as claimants on income support with child under 16 and no partner. Lone parent obligations were introduced from 24 November 2008 affecting the age of the youngest child. 7. From November 2008 the "incapacity benefits group" includes employment and support allowance (ESA). ESA replaced incapacity benefit and income support paid on the grounds of incapacity for new claims from 27 October 2008. Prior to this the "incapacity benefits group" referred to claimants of incapacity benefit (including credits only) or severe disablement allowance including people claiming IS on the grounds of incapacity. 8. Caseload figures used for AA, CA and DLA include those cases with entitlement but where payment is currently suspended (for example, because of an extended stay in hospital or an overlapping benefit). 9. The key benefits which are currently included in the working-age client group data are: Bereavement benefit Carer's allowance Disability living allowance Incapacity benefit Severe disablement allowance Income support (including pension credit for males aged 60 to 64) Jobseeker's allowance Widow's benefit. Source: DWP Information Directorate 100% WPLS. General Register Office for Scotland Mid-Term Population Estimates, 2008.|
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether staffing levels were increased during the trial of the reassessments of customers receiving incapacity benefit and income support in north east Scotland. 
Chris Grayling: Increased provision was made for the additional activities involved in the delivery of the reassessment trial. Approximately 20 benefit centre staff were redeployed for the period of the exercise. No new staff were recruited.
Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how long appeals by customers against benefit entitlement reassessments during the trial in north east Scotland took to process on average. 
Chris Grayling: The IB reassessment trial is still under way. Due to the end to end length of the customer journey, it is too early to provide information on the number of customers who have asked to appeal against their decision and how long the appeals will take to process.
Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent representations he has received on the work capability assessment. 
Chris Grayling: We welcome the first Independent Review of the Work Capability Assessment, led by Professor Malcolm Harrington. Published on 23 November 2010, it is a thorough review that has reviewed a substantial amount of evidence. To inform the review, Professor Harrington made a call for evidence, to which he had over 400 responses. The responses came from individuals, organisations and representative bodies.
As a result of his review of this evidence, Professor Harrington has come forward with a wide range of far-reaching and challenging proposals which the Government fully support.
We are committed to taking forward the review's recommendations so that we can make the system fairer and more effective. The Government response to Professor Harrington's review sets out how and when we will implement the recommendations of the review, the majority of which will be in place in time for the national roll-out of the incapacity benefits Reassessment programme.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he expects the backlog of work capability assessment claims awaiting hearing of an appeal by the Tribunal Service to be cleared; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Djanogly: I have been asked to reply.
There are always a number of 'live' appeals in the first tier tribunal-social security and child support (SSCS) progressing through the stages of receipt, decision and promulgation. This total level of work in hand cannot be described as a backlog.
As the volume of SSCS receipts has increased significantly and rapidly beyond original forecasts, the capacity of the Tribunals Service to deal with them has also increased in response; the number of employment support allowance and incapacity benefit cases disposed of in the second quarter of 2010-11 were more than double those cleared in the equivalent period the preceding year.
In September 2010, in respect of employment support allowance and incapacity benefit appeals, capacity increases made within SSCS, meant that around a third of the work in hand was in excess of normal levels. As the Tribunals Service capacity continues to increase, it expects to return to normal levels of work in hand for employment support allowance and incapacity benefit cases by summer 2011.
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in respect of how many work capability assessments the Jobcentre Plus decision-makers' final decision differed from the initial Atos recommendation in the latest period for which figures are available; and how many of those cases were returned to Atos for reconsideration. 
Chris Grayling: Employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced in October 2008. A key factor in determining eligibility for ESA is the work capability assessment (WCA). The WCA is carried out by health care professionals employed by Atos Healthcare. A report of the WCA is then sent to Jobcentre Plus.
Jobcentre Plus decision makers (JCP DMs) have to consider all the available information before making a decision on benefit entitlement. Any additional evidence provided by a customer's GP or consultant is important and is fully considered as part of this process.
The Department therefore holds information on both the recommendation made by Atos Healthcare at assessment and separate information on the JCP DM's final decision. We can determine where the decision differs but not why the decision was changed or whether a case was returned for reconsideration. Where the final JCP DM decision differs to the original Atos recommendation we refer to the decision being a result of "at reconsideration" which may or not involve a return of the case to Atos.
The number of people for whom Atos recommended they be placed in the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) and the Support Group (SG) and additional people who were placed in the WRAG or SG based on the JCP DM decision is presented in the following table. Please note that the impact of appeals is not included.
|Table 1: ATOS recommendations of placement in the ESA Work Related Activity Group and additional people placed in the ESA Work Related Activity Group at reconsideration by Jobcentre Plus decision maker|
|Claim start month||WRAG-based on ATOS recommendation||Additional people placed in WRAG at reconsideration by JCP DM|
|Table 2: ATOS recommendations of placement in the ESA Support Group and additional people placed in the ESA Support Group at reconsideration by Jobcentre Plus decision maker|
|Claim start month||SG-based on ATOS recommendation||Additional people moved to SG-at reconsideration|
Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many re-assessments of work capability assessments were undertaken within (a) three months, (b) three to six months, (c) six to nine months, (d) 12 to 15 months and (e) 15 to 18 months of the original assessment in each of the last three years. 
Chris Grayling: Employment and support allowance (ESA) was introduced in October 2008. Eligibility for ESA is determined by the work capability assessment (WCA).
Following the first WCA, those placed on the benefit will be given a provisional date for reassessment via a further WCA. The timing of this is determined by the nature of their health condition(s).
The table shows the number of initial reassessments via the WCA process that have occurred in the time periods shown, at the national level.
Data are provided for ESA claims starting from October 2008 up to May 2010, the latest data available.
These figures are subject to change as more up to date information becomes available.
|Number of repeat WCA nationally|
|Date of ESA claim start|
|Time between initial and 1( st) repeat WCA||October 2008 to March 2009||April 2009 to March 2010||April 2010 to May 2010|
Benefit claims data held by the Department for Work and Pensions
The Department regularly publishes official statistics on ESA and the WCA, the latest report was released in January 2011. The reports can be found on the internet here:
Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to assist employers in Newton Abbot constituency to take on an apprentice. 
Mr Hayes: We are committed to expanding the Apprenticeship programme nationally and we are determined to make it easier for employers of all sizes and in all regions to take on apprentices. In England, we have increased funding for Apprenticeships to over £1.4 billion in the 2011-12 financial year. This means we will have funding in place to train over 300,000 apprentices (at all ages).
The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has worked closely with South Devon College on a joint initiative to increase the number of new Apprenticeship places in the South Devon area, including Newton Abbot, and is also promoting the local 'Skills Boost' initiative
As part of National Apprenticeship Week (7 to 11 February 2011), the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has arranged a number of local events in the area, including in Newton Abbot, where I understand that my hon. Friend, the Member for Newton Abbot will be meeting local apprentices recruited to the new Building Services framework.
Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) employers and (b) carers' organisations on possible changes to flexible working opportunities for carers. [R] 
Mr Davey: I have had a number of discussions with employer and employee representative groups, including carers' organisations, to discuss the Government's commitment to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees. This extension will enable more carers, including friends and neighbours, to request flexible working to support their caring responsibilities.
I will shortly launch a full consultation on the extension to the right to request flexible working alongside proposals on flexible parental leave and equal pay.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage new exports. 
Mr Prisk: The Government will shortly publish a Trade and Investment White Paper which will set out the Government's framework for encouraging trade and investment in the UK and internationally.
Linked to this, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) is developing a new strategy as part of the Government's growth review. This will set out new priorities for trade promotion. It is through these activities this Department encourages businesses new to exporting to discover and seize international opportunities, and more experienced exporters to improve their exporting capability.
UKTI services are delivered through a network of international trade advisers in England, partner organisations in the devolved Administrations and staff in 96 overseas markets. In 2009/10, UKTI provided significant help to some 23,600 exporters generating over £5 billion of added value to the UK economy.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the quality of information higher education institutions make available to potential students; and if he will make a statement. 
The Government's future vision for higher education is a system where students have real choice. As such, a major priority for the Government is to
improve the quality of information available to potential students, so that more informed choices on course and university can be made.
Last year the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) commissioned detailed research to identify the key pieces of information which students say they find useful. This has directly informed the development of the proposed Key Information Set (KIS).
The introduction of the KIS is a significant step forward. It will provide a standard set of 17 items of information for each course, to be made available on university websites. However, I see this as just the start of a process to radically increase the quality of information available to students, to present it in much more innovative ways, and to encourage new providers into the student information market.
HEFCE are currently holding a public consultation on the content of the KIS. Final recommendations will be made by the Higher Education Public Information Steering Group in spring 2011, and a further statement will be made in the Higher Education White Paper.
Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what proportion of (a) undergraduate and (b) postgraduate degree starters were (i) men and (ii) women in the last 12 months for which figures are available; 
(2) what proportion of (a) undergraduate and (b) postgraduate degree starts were non-EU students in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The latest available information from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is shown in the table. Figures for the 2010/11 academic year will be available in January 2012.
|Proportion of entrants( 1) to postgraduate courses( 2) and undergraduate degree courses( 3) by gender and domicile. UK higher education institutions. Academic year 2009/10|
|(1) Covers entrants of all domiciles to both full-time and part-time courses.|
(2) Covers entrants to all postgraduate courses.
(3) Cover entrants to first degree courses only, therefore excludes other undergraduate courses such as foundation degrees, HND/Cs etc.
Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population. Due to rounding, components may not sum 100%.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of students who were (a) eligible and (b) not eligible for free school meals at the age of 16 years started undergraduate courses in 2010; 
(2) how many and what proportion of students who were (a) eligible and (b) not eligible for free school meals at the age of 16 years began undergraduate courses at Russell Group universities in 2010. 
Mr Willetts: The requested information is not available for 2010. The most recent data available for the 2007/08 academic year have been provided in the table and relate to pupils aged 15 rather than age 16. Figures for the 2008/09 academic year will be available later this year.
It is known that not all pupils who are eligible for free school meals claim them. Such pupils would be excluded from these figures. These rounded estimates allow for a small margin of error that arises as result of the matching procedure deployed.
|Estimates of the number and proportion of pupils aged 15 in 2003/04, in English maintained schools, who progressed to HE by age 19 in 2007/08|
|(1) Includes HE level courses at English further education colleges.|
(2) FSM and non-FSM indicate receipt and non-receipt of free school meals respectively.
In 2003/04 there were 82,800 maintained school pupils aged 15 claiming free school meals. This represents 14% of all pupils in English maintained schools.
Matched data from the National Pupil Database, the Higher Education Statistics Agency Student Record and the Individualised Learner Record. All figures are estimates and numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100.
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department plans to make alternative provision for higher education for university applicants who are unsuccessful in application for university places in the academic years to 2015-16. 
Mr Willetts: Entry to university is and should be competitive. Universities offer places on the basis of merit. Inevitably, not all applicants will gain a place. Many of these applicants will, however, be successful in subsequent years. A strong demand for places was expected this year so universities will be able to recruit the same number of new students in 2011 as in 2010. In addition, this Government have already expanded the alternatives to university, by providing 50,000 new places on apprenticeships, for which there is rising employer demand. Our reforms will also make part-time university study more accessible.
Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with higher education institutions on promoting science and innovation; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Willetts: I have had many recent discussions on promoting science and innovation with higher education institutions (HEIs), both individually and through representative bodies. My statement to Parliament on 20 December 2010, Official Report, column 135WS, sets out the Government's position.
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress his Department has made in reviewing the (a) employment law and (b) health and safety regulations for which it is responsible since his appointment. 
Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is leading the employment law review across Government. This is an ongoing project where Departments with responsibility for employment law, including BIS, are considering their legislation area by area. As part of this, we last week published a consultation on reforming the employment tribunal system, "Resolving Workplace Disputes", which is a major first step in the review.
This Department is not responsible for health and safety at work regulations, which fall to the Department for Work and Pensions.
John Stevenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage school leavers to train in nuclear engineering. 
Mr Hayes: The UK and global Nuclear New Build industry, together with decommissioning both in the UK and in other markets, represents a huge career opportunity, requiring new entrants. The Government are working with skills partners to ensure career opportunities are realised from this market and employers have the skills they need. Demand is being raised among school leavers through road shows, the children's and adults' careers information services, the STEM ambassadors programme, and the development of new qualifications. There is strong demand for specialist nuclear apprenticeship, further education and degree programmes, as well as for the generic engineering construction skills needed by the industry.
Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what measures are in place to ensure that students from other EU countries studying in the UK repay their student loans after leaving the UK. 
Mr Willetts: Student loans in England are only available to those who meet the relevant residence requirements. The Student Loans Company (SLC) applies the same mechanisms to all borrowers who move overseas after leaving their course.
When borrowers move abroad, whether temporarily or because they live in another country, they must give the SLC information about their location and earnings. SLC will determine whether the borrower should be making repayments and if so, gives them a monthly
repayment schedule under the terms of the contract of the loan. The SLC will convert the income into pound sterling and tell the borrower the amount they will need to pay each month in pound sterling.
Where borrowers move overseas and do not notify the SLC, they may be charged penalties which will be added to the outstanding loan amount. They may also have to pay the costs of any trace agents employed by SLC. In some circumstances, they may have to repay the full outstanding amount in a single payment.
Effective collection of student loans across the EU is underpinned by EC regulation 44/2001, which allows the SLC to obtain judgments in UK courts which can be enforced by courts in other EU countries. Borrowers who choose to disregard their obligation will be pursued by SLC and where appropriate, court orders will be sought.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the contribution to the economy of trade with Israel. 
Mr Prisk: The benefits of international trade to the economy result from greater economic efficiency due to a combination of increased competition in markets, comparative advantages, economies of scale, increased opportunities for learning, and greater incentives for innovation. Due to the difficulty of differentiating between the impact of trade and other factors on growth, it is not possible to quantify precisely the impact of trade with another country on the economy.
The UK exports of goods and services to Israel in 2009 were worth the equivalent of about 0.12% of UK Gross Domestic Product at market prices. Imports from Israel were worth the equivalent of about 0.10% of GDP.
Mr Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) 18 to 24 year olds and (b) over 24 year olds studied on (i) part-time undergraduate degrees, (ii) part-time foundation degrees and (iii) part-time other undergraduate degrees in the last 12 months for which figures are available. 
Mr Willetts: The numbers of English-domiciled part-time undergraduate enrolments at UK higher education institutions are shown by age group and level of study in Table 1. Figures are taken from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record and are provided for the 2009/10 academic year. Figures for the 2010/11 academic year will become available from January 2012.
The numbers of English-domiciled part-time undergraduate enrolments at English further education colleges are shown by age group and level of study in Table 2. Figures are taken from the Skills Funding Agency Individualised Learning Record and are provided for the 2008/09 academic year. Figures for the 2009/10 academic year will become available later this year.
|Table 1: English-domiciled part-time undergraduate enrolments by age group and level of study UK higher education institutions. Academic year 2009/10|
|Level of study||Under 18||18-24||25 and over||Total|
|(1) Includes students enrolled on higher national diplomas (HNDs), higher national certificates (HNCs), diplomas and certificates of higher education, national vocational qualifications (NVQs) at undergraduate level and other sub-degree courses.|
Figures are based on a HESA standard registration population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals.
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record
|Table 2: English-domiciled part-time undergraduate enrolments by age group and level of study English further education colleges. Academic year 2008/09|
|Level of study||Under 18||18-24||25 and over||Total|
|(1) Includes students enrolled on higher national diplomas (HNDs), higher national certificates (HNCs), diplomas and certificates of higher education and other sub-degree courses.|
Figures have been rounded up or down to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals.
Skills Funding Agency Individualised Learning Record (L05).
Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to ensure post offices are able to provide a variety of services to customers. 
Mr Davey: We set out our plans for the future of the post office network, including the variety of services that customers will be able to access, in our policy statement "Securing the Post Office Network in the Digital Age", published on 9 November 2010. This includes our aim to see the post office becoming a genuine front office for Government at both the local and national level, and the expansion of accessible and affordable financial services.
Copies of the policy statement have been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the membership of the Skills and Jobs Retention Group is; whether it has met since its establishment; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The Skills and Jobs Retention Group is an industry-led group created to ensure that high value skills in the defence sector can be effectively redeployed where there are industrial changes as a result of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
The Group has had two full formal sessions: a teleconference on 17 December 2010 and a meeting on 12 January 2011. There has also been regular discussion between group members, and with other individuals, businesses and organisations to progress work. The Secretary of State met Chairman, Allan Cook, on 31 January 2011 to discuss the activity under way and progress overall. By the end of March 2011, the Group will have developed an action plan to assist redeployment, which will be considered as part of the ongoing work to remove barriers to growth and improve conditions for business success within the Advanced Manufacturing strand of the Growth Review.
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