20 Oct 2011 : Column 1137W

Courts: Maintenance

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent estimate he has made of the cost of backlog maintenance of each court building in Wales. [75972]

Mr Djanogly: Draft backlog maintenance figures for the HM Courts and Tribunals Service estate for 2011 have been received from each region but have not yet been finalised. I will write to the right hon. Member when these become available.

Courts: Witnesses

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many cases were heard in each court in Wales between (a) January and March, (b) April and June and (c) July and September 2011; and on how many occasions in each court a witness failed to attend in each such period. [75973]

Mr Djanogly: Data on the number of cases completed in the Crown courts of Wales and on the number of completed criminal proceedings in the magistrates courts in Wales by Local Justice Area (LJA) for the first

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1138W

quarter (January to March 2011) and second quarter (April to June 2011) of 2011 can be found in tables 1 and 2.

Information about the total number of witnesses failing to attend a trial in the magistrates courts and Crown court is not held centrally, as it is not recorded by court staff electronically as part of their routine daily administrative duties.

However, information on the number criminal trials which were either ‘ineffective’ (does not commence on due date and is re-listed) or ‘cracked’ (did not commence on the due date and was not listed) due to non-attendance witnesses as the primary reason are centrally collected. Data on the number of ineffective or cracked trials in the Crown court due to the absence of a witness in Wales can also be found in table 1 and similar data for the magistrates court in Wales by LJA can be found in table 2 for the same time periods.

Completed proceedings and data on cracked and ineffective trials in the magistrates courts are collected at LJA and as a result we are unable to separately identify cases completed at different magistrates courts.

Data for the third quarter (July to September) are currently unavailable and will be published in January 2012.

Table 1. Number of cases disposed of and ineffective and cracked trials in the Crown courts of Wales, Q1 to Q2 2011
  Number of case disposals Ineffective or cracked trials due to non-attendance or withdrawal of witness as primary reason
Court Q1 2011 Q2 2011 Q1 2011 Q2 2011

Cardiff Crown court

957

943

10

13

Merthyr Tydfil combined court centre

310

268

2

4

Mold Crown court + Welshpool Crown court

168

251

0

2

Swansea Crown court

345

290

2

2

Caernarfon Crown court

116

189

1

0

Carmarthen Crown court

132

90

0

1

Haverfordwest Crown court

54

38

1

0

Total

2,082

2,069

16

22

Notes: 1. Disposals are total cases dealt with. 2. Reasons for ineffective or cracked trials are based on the primary reason stated, witness is absent or the “Prosecution end case: witness absent/withdrawn”, these cases represent those trials that did not go ahead due to no witness being present. Source: HM Courts and Tribunals Service CREST system
Table 2. Number of completed proceedings of and ineffective and cracked trials in the magistrates courts for the local justice areas (LJAs) in Wales, Q1 to Q2 2011
Local justice area (LJA) Number of completed criminal proceedings Ineffective trials due to lack of witness as primary reason

Q1 2011 Q2 2011 Q1 2011 Q2 2011

Wrexham Maelor

245

1090

13

10

Flintshire

2,204

904

14

5

Denbighshire

780

836

6

9

Conwy

812

707

4

13

Llanelli

875

961

2

3

Ceredigion

339

289

2

1

Carmarthen

687

414

0

0

Dinefwr

353

408

0

0

Gwent

5,290

5134

46

33

Anglesey (Ynys Mòn)

489

377

5

5

Gwynedd

960

718

5

3

Cynon Valley

356

336

4

1

Merthyr Tydfil

953

755

10

5

Miskin

1,828

1352

21

17

Newcastle and Ogmore

1,156

1216

7

14

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1139W

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1140W

Cardiff

5,115

4801

57

42

Vale of Glamorgan

925

795

10

5

De Brycheiniog

296

254

2

2

Radnorshire and North Brecknock

71

72

0

0

Montgomeryshire

362

310

2

2

Pembrokeshire

595

639

6

0

Neath and Port Talbot

1,610

1314

11

5

Swansea

2,104

1765

5

7

Total

28,405

25,447

232

182

Note: Reasons for ineffective or cracked trials are based on the primary reason stated, witness is absent or the “Prosecution end case: witness absent/withdrawn”, these cases represent those trials that did not go ahead due to no witness being present. Source: HM Courts and Tribunals Service CREST system Trials, HM Courts and Tribunals Service Performance Database (OPT)

Debt Collection

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much revenue his Department received from (a) summons for debt, (b) liability orders and (c) applications by councils for debt summonses in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will estimate the level of profit over costs arising from each activity. [75369]

Mr Djanogly: The revenue collected (net income) in the financial year 2010-11 for (a) summons for debt (in the civil county and High Court) was £253.0 million; and (b) liability orders (council and Child Support Agency) was £11.1 million of which £9.8 million relates to council tax liability orders.

It is not possible to provide the revenue for debt summonses that related to applications issued by councils. These data are not currently captured separately on the case management system in the HMCTS county and High Courts. The revenue collected from councils issuing council tax liability orders (in the magistrates courts) is provided above under point (b).

The HMCTS published accounts for 2010-11 identified that:

(a) civil business achieved 99% full cost recovery with a £3.6 million shortfall of which £1.8 million (50%) related to debt summonses; and

(b) magistrates civil business achieved 94% full cost recovery with a shortfall of £1.2 million.

Freedom of Information

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government is taking to ensure that the public interest test is applied appropriately to the handling of requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [75857]

Mr Djanogly: Both the Ministry of Justice and the Information Commissioner’s Office provide guidance to public authorities on applying the public interest test under the Freedom of Information Act. That guidance can be found at:

www.justice.gov.uk/guidance

and

http://www.ico.gov.uk/for_organisations/guidance_index

respectively. It is open to requesters to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office if they consider that the public interest has been inappropriately applied in relation to a particular request.

Hillsborough Stadium

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Prime Minister since his appointment on the unredacted release of the Hillsborough Cabinet minutes. [74296]

Mr Djanogly: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), on 13 October 2011, Official Report, column 506W.

The Prime Minister and I agree on the need to provide full transparency about the Hillsborough disaster through full public disclosure. All the Cabinet Office papers have been shared with the Hillsborough Independent Panel and the Government are happy for all the papers to be released as soon the panel so decides, in consultation with the families. The Prime Minister and I expect them to be shared with the Hillsborough families first and then to the wider public.

Office of the Chief Coroner

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the oral answer to the hon. Members for Luton South and for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland of 13 September 2011, Official Report, column 878, on Office of the Chief Coroner, which of the provisions in the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 the Government does not propose to bring into effect. [75725]

Mr Djanogly: The Government are committed to urgent reform of the coroner system and therefore intend to implement the vast majority of part 1 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 (the ‘2009 Act’) as soon as practicably possible once the Chief Coroner's functions have been transferred via the Public Bodies Bill.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1141W

The Government have announced previously that sections 17, 36, 38, 39, 40 and 51 will not be implemented. However, where possible we will seek to achieve the objectives of some of these provisions by other means. For example, instead of implementing section 17 we will continue to publish quarterly statistics for inquests into the death of service personnel overseas and will implement training provisions under section 37 of the 2009 Act.

The Government are continuing to consider the feasibility of a single Coroner for Treasure and to assess the extent to which measures on treasure in the 2009 Act may be implemented within budgetary constraints.

Prisons: Education

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his most recent assessment is of education provision in prisons. [75557]

Mr Blunt: The MOJ and BIS commenced a review of offender learning in England in the summer of 2010. The outcome of the review was published in May 2011 under the title “Making Prisons Work: Skills for Rehabilitation”, which is available via:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/m/11-828-making-prisons-work-skills-for-rehabilitation

Copies have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

In Wales responsibility for education in prisons was devolved to the Welsh Government in April 2009. In 2010-11 the National Offender Management Service commissioned an in-house needs assessment and gap analysis of the learning and skills provision in public prisons in Wales. This was to ensure delivery and resources meet the learning requirements of the population to improve their employability outcomes.

Reoffenders

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people released from prison after serving a 12-month sentence or less were convicted of an offence within 12 months of their release in the last two years for which figures are available. [75554]

Mr Blunt: The following table shows the number of people released from prison after serving a sentence of less than 12 months who were convicted of an offence within 12 months of their release. The numbers and re-conviction rates are based on releases in the first quarter of 2008 and of 2009.

A re-conviction is defined as any offence committed in the one-year follow up period proven by a court conviction in that period or a further six month waiting period.


Number of offenders Number re-convicted Re-conviction rate (percentage)

2008 Q1

10,251

6,262

61.1

2009 Q1

9,924

5,892

59.4

These re-conviction rates can be found in Table A5 of ‘Adult re-convictions: results from the 2009 cohort' on the Ministry of Justice website:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/reoffendingofadults.htm

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1142W

Northern Ireland

Government Procurement Card

Chris Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many Government Procurement Card transactions were made by his Department's officials withdrawing cash from automated teller machines from 2006-07 to 2009-10; at what cost; and on which dates. [73719]

Mr Paterson: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available before 12 April 2010 following the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Enterprise Zones

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many times (a) he and (b) his officials have met the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science in the Welsh Government to discuss enterprise zones since his appointment. [73960]

Mr Prisk: HM Government set out in advance of the budget their commitment to working with the devolved Administrations in establishing enterprise zones if they so wish. The Government have made funding available in the budget to support enterprise zones in the devolved Administrations through the Barnett formula.

While there have been no direct meetings between the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable) and the Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science in the Welsh Government to discuss enterprise zones, officials from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Department of Communities and Local Government and HM Treasury have provided advice and support about establishing enterprise zones in Wales to officials from the Welsh Government's Department for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science.

BIS officials have passed to their Welsh Government colleagues information on the criteria for agreeing an enterprise zone and the procedures involved in setting up an enterprise zone. BIS officials routinely engage with their colleagues in the devolved Administrations regarding economic development policy. The discussion of enterprise zones at the Four Nations Forum in June 2011 provides a recent example of this collaboration.

Advertising Protection Agency

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has held recent discussions with the Advertising Protection Agency; and what was discussed. [74150]

Mr Vaizey: I have been asked to reply.

In answering this question, the reference to the Advertising Protection Agency has been taken to mean ‘The Advertising Protection Agency’ (TAPA) and not the ‘Advertising Standards Agency’ (ASA).

As such, no recent discussions have been held.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1143W

Apprentices

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what measures he has introduced to encourage large employers to recruit apprentices in 2011; how many apprentices have been recruited to such companies; and which companies have taken on apprentices as a result of such measures. [75447]

Mr Hayes: On 6 September 2011 I announced a package of new measures to make it easier for large employers who directly contract with the Skills Funding Agency to take on apprentices. Payments will be simplified, contracts streamlined, and a number of data returns and audit requirements eliminated.

The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) has employer service managers who provide account management services to large employers.

Examples of some of the new contracts include:

Nordic Pioneer Ltd

Everest Home Improvements

The Co-operative

Kingswood Learning and Leisure

Between August 2010 and April 2011 over 5,000 large employers (250-5,000 staff) took on a total of 30,000 apprentices, a 50% rise in starts in this category compared to the same period in 2009-10.

Bankruptcy

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to safeguard small and medium-sized enterprises from bankruptcy. [74729]

Mr Prisk: The Government have put in place a number of measures including:

continuing funding for the Business Debtline for the next three years. The Debtline provides free, confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems. The website can be found here:

www.nationaldebtline.co.uk

HMRC's Time To Pay service will continue to offer pay arrangements to viable businesses which are experiencing genuine but short term difficulties in paying their tax.

transforming the advice and information available to small and medium-sized enterprises (SME)—for example on cash flow management, cutting costs and winning new customers—by supporting an increase in business-to-business mentoring and developing better, expert web-based advice 24/7 at:

www.businesslink.gov.uk

continuing to ensure viable SMEs can access finance. The Merlin agreement, co-ordinated by Government in February 2011, committed the banks to new lending capacity of £76 billion for UK SMEs in 2011. Government have also worked with banks to set up an appeals process for SMEs declined access to finance, as part of banks' commitments in the British Bankers Association taskforce. Government are also providing support to SMEs seeking to access finance through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) and the sister scheme for exporters (exEFG).

helping business manage cash flow. Central Government Departments now aim to pay 80% of undisputed invoices within five days; in August 2011 this Department paid 93.6%

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1144W

of its invoices within five days. We have also worked with the Institute of Credit Management to develop a series of Managing Cash Flow guides available at:

http://www.creditmanagement.org.uk/bisguides.htm

with nearly 250,000 downloads since December 2008. The Prompt Payment Code:

http://www.promptpaymentcode.org.uk/

seeks to identify payment exemplars across both the public and private sectors and signatories to the code are required to pay within agreed terms and to communicate effectively with suppliers.

In addition, with respect to the terms of liquidation for SMEs, the Government will launch a consultation on increasing the petition debt levels for creditors. The petition debt level has not been increased since the Insolvency Act first came into force in 1986 and so remains at £750. To be able to threaten someone with bankruptcy for such a small amount is, we believe, disproportionate. The consultation will cover increasing the petition debt level in both personal and corporate cases, which would affect the terms for SMEs.

Banks

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the banking industry on the role of relationship managers in bank branches. [74753]

Mr Prisk: I meet with representatives of the banking industry frequently to discuss a range of issues, including ensuring banks fulfil their commitments set out in the British Bankers Association (BBA) Taskforce, which includes actions to improve customer relationships and provide better information and promote understanding between banks and customers. Meetings take place both bilaterally and through fora such as the quarterly Small Business Economic Forum which I chair.

Boats: EU Action

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what position he plans to adopt at the Working Party on Technical Harmonisation on 25 October 2011 in Brussels in respect of the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on recreational craft and personal watercraft; and what estimate he has made of the potential cost to the UK of the proposed directive. [74564]

Mr Prisk: Officials from this Department and UK Permanent Representative will attend the meeting. They will express support for the broad aims and objectives of the proposal. They will welcome the work undertaken by the European Commission that has been done in identifying areas within the current recreational craft Directive that could be improved to provide greater clarity of the obligations imposed by the directive. This will help to reduce undue burdens placed on business (particularly small and medium-sized enterprises), and facilitate cross-border trade. The UK will address those features of the proposal itself that risk being unduly burdensome on the sector and UK operators. While an official impact assessment is still under preparation, one has been prepared by the European Commission

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1145W

that suggests that the advantage for the UK industry is expected to be of the order of £700,000 to £4,200,000 per annum.

Business Link

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support he plans to make available for small and medium-sized businesses following the closure of Business Link. [73325]

Mr Prisk: From 25 November, individuals and businesses will be able to get better business information and advice on starting, improving and growing their business online at:

www.businesslink.gov.uk

As part of this package:

Two new services will be launched on www.businesslink.gov.uk:

“My New Business”—an enhanced service providing tailored support to take people through all the tasks needed to start their own business;

“Growth and Improvement”—a new service for businesses looking to improve or grow, containing interactive tools to help businesses diagnose and solve business problems, a business support finder, video case studies, peer-to-peer networking and an online events directory.

The Business Link helpline will be fully operational from 25 November and will support people who are unable to access the internet or have difficulty in doing so.

www.Mentorsme.co.uk, Britain's first online mentoring portal, was launched on 4 July and provides a single point of access for those seeking mentoring and those seeking to be mentors. The portal enables businesses that are looking for advice on starting up, growing their companies or needing financial mentoring to connect with experienced business people who have the skills to support them. 56 organisations have signed up to the portal and we have over 10,000 mentors available across the UK.

A new service, Business Coaching for Growth will be established across England from January 2012, providing high quality business coaching support for small and medium-sized firms with high growth potential to enable them to develop and implement growth plans. It will also fast-track them into finance, knowledge and other networks and to other services such as UK Trade and Investment.

A streamlined Solutions for Business support portfolio was announced in March, targeted at activities where a Government lead is required, for example on supporting complex trade deals and challenging technology developments.

On 14 October, we also announced details of the new £57 million contract to deliver the Manufacturing Advisory Service which works with manufacturers to identify and implement productivity and innovation improvements to improve their competitiveness. Starting in January, this will be a national service locally delivered and tailored to meet the needs of individual businesses and local economic circumstances. The new service will focus on helping SME manufacturers in England to develop advanced manufacturing capabilities and could help create an estimated £1.5 billion in economic growth, 23,000 jobs and safeguard 50,000 over three years.

Business: Advisory Services

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many business mentors (a) had joined his Department's mentoring network and (b) were available to provide guidance to businesses through the mentoring network on (i) 3 July 2011 and (ii) the most recent date for which figures are available. [75038]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1146W

Mr Prisk: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 7 September 2011, Official Report, column reference 713W, and 8 September 2011, Official Report, column reference 796W, regarding information on the number of mentors available through the mentoring network and the publication of such information.

Mentorsme.co.uk, Britain's first online mentoring gateway, was launched on 4 July 2011 and provides a single point of access for those seeking mentoring and those seeking to be mentors, covering the whole of the UK. We do not have data to answer how many business mentors were available to provide guidance to businesses prior to the launch of the mentoring portal.

At launch, the portal included approximately 40 mentoring organisations, providing access to around 10,000 mentors and this number continues to grow. Applications from other mentoring organisations who wish to be listed on the portal are currently being screened and more organisations will be added in the coming months as they register interest, providing they meet certain minimum standards. I am determined to maintain the quality of the mentors available through this network and am not willing to compromise this in order to increase the numbers more quickly.

The launch of the portal is an important first step on the road to making mentoring the norm for businesses, whether starting out or with ambitions to grow.

We are now working with the British Banking Association (BBA) to develop mentorsme.co.uk and to encourage more experienced business people to become volunteer mentors.

Business: Regulation

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish the Beecroft report commissioned by his Department into reducing the burden of regulation on businesses. [75882]

Mr Davey: Adrian Beecroft has been asked to contribute his thoughts to Government to support the work on examining the burden of cross-government employment-related law. This is part of a wider consultation with stakeholders for the Red Tape Challenge. His views will feed into that process, and we do not plan to publish them.

Economic Growth: Olympic Games 2012

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the modelling of economic growth potential of the Olympic host boroughs contained in the report by Oxford Economics, “Six Host Boroughs Strategic Regeneration Framework-Economic Model”, published in November 2010. [73455]

Mr Prisk: The Department's economic analysts have seen the report from Oxford Economics and consider it a valuable contribution to strategic thinking and planning for the east London area. Officials from the Department have met with representatives from the host boroughs to discuss the report.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1147W

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations he has (a) made to and (b) received from the Mayor of London on the economic growth of the Olympic host boroughs. [73519]

Mr Prisk: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has made no representations to the Mayor of London, nor received any, specifically on economic growth in the Olympic host boroughs.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings he has had in the last 12 months on the economic growth of the Olympic host boroughs. [73520]

Mr Prisk: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has had no meetings in the last 12 months specifically on economic growth in the Olympic host boroughs. Officials from the Department have met with representatives from the Host Boroughs Unit to discuss economic growth and the Oxford Economics report published in November 2010.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support economic growth in the London borough of (a) Barking and Dagenham, (b) Greenwich, (c) Hackney, (d) Newham, (e) Tower Hamlets and (f) Waltham Forest. [73521]

Mr Prisk: Responsibility for promoting economic growth in London is largely devolved to the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) and its associated agencies, including the London Development Agency (LDA).

Information supplied by the LDA—provisional, as it is based on forecast outturn for the current year—shows that current year spending on some 168 projects designed to promote economic growth in these boroughs totals £16,433,455, broken down as follows:

£

Barking and Dagenham

1,815,325

Greenwich

1,702,647

Hackney

1,727,708

Newham

6,529,733

Tower Hamlets

3,385,384

Waltham Forest

1,272,159

In addition, these boroughs benefit from a share of £38.5 million spending this year on pan-London projects supported by the LDA/GLA as well as spending on local colleges and other providers by the Skills Funding Agency and National Apprenticeships Service; and businesses from Business Link and other investment which cannot readily be quantified at borough level.

The designation of the Royal Docks in Newham as an Enterprise Zone is further evidence of the Government's support and encouragement for new investment and economic growth in the area, building on the very significant boost the Olympic and Paralympic Games investment in infrastructure, jobs and training is providing.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1148W

Education: English Language

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the length of waiting lists for English for Speakers of Other Languages courses for (a) all those seeking to participate and (b) people granted refugee status. [73873]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 12 October 2011]: Data are not collected on the length of waiting lists for English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) courses.

Information on participation on ESOL courses is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 23 June 2011:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirst release/sfr_current

Mr Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of learners who were in receipt of the fee remission for English for Speakers of Other Languages courses also receive active benefits in the Coventry local authority area in the latest period for which figures are available. [70352]

Mr Hayes: We do not directly record what type of benefits people are receiving when they take up training. We do, however, collect information on why a learner has received fee remission for a particular learning aim they undertake. From these data we can provide some information on claimants, but this should be used with caution given it does not provide an accurate picture of the full range of entitlements that a person has.

In Coventry local education authority there were 3,240 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) adult (19+) aims in 2009/10, the latest academic year for which final year data are available. (As learners can enrol on more than one aim, 2,310 learners participated in these aims.)

Based on the “fees waived” field in the Individualised Learner Record, 2,850 aims were in receipt of fee remission. Of these, 1,700 (59%, based on unrounded figures) received fee remission as the learner was in receipt of an income-related benefit.

The Government currently provide 50% fee remission for all learners in England participating on ESOL courses who are eligible for public funded skills provision. Those on income based-benefits are eligible for full fee remission. Further education colleges and training organisations also have local discretion to provide fully subsidised courses for people on a wider range of benefits where the training is to help them enter employment.

From August 2011, where English language skills have been identified as a barrier to entering employment, full Government funding will be provided for ESOL to unemployed people in receipt of jobseekers allowance or in the employment and support allowance (Work-Related Activity) Group. We will also continue to pay 50% of ESOL course fees for people who are settled here. We will no longer fund ESOL courses delivered in the workplace.

Further education (FE) colleges and training providers are responsible for meeting the needs of their local community, and increased freedoms and flexibilities that we have introduced will help them respond and determine within their funding where this is prioritised.

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1149W

Employment: Exhibitions

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department provided support to the World Skills 2011 event held at the Excel Arena on 5 to 8 October 2011. [74480]

Mr Hayes: Yes, alongside significant investment from the private sector. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is the Government sponsor of WorldSkills London 2011, and its legacy.

The event, the largest international vocational skills competition in modern history, was a resounding success and the UK was ranked fifth out of 48 countries, surpassing our performance at the last WorldSkills competition in Calgary in 2009.

Further Education: Disability

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to improve the provision and quality of advice on (a) personal budgets, (b) fees requirements and (c) benefit entitlements for students with disabilities or learning difficulties wishing to pursue further education; and if he will make a statement. [74965]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 18 October 2011]: Information, advice and guidance on careers and learning is available through the Next Step service. Individuals can seek advice on all forms of financial support for learning, and those with learning difficulties or disabilities are a priority for intensive, ongoing support.

From April 2012, the new National Careers Service will replace Next Step. Providers of careers guidance in the National Careers Service will need to meet a rigorous national quality standard. On 12 October, I announced that this would be the revised matrix standard, which will require employers to demonstrate that they have set frameworks for employee development which recognise appropriate professional standards.

The Government intend to publish a Participation Strategy later this year setting out the support available to help young people engaged with education, employment and training.

Further Education: Refugees

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the number of people granted refugee status who were claiming full fee remission for English for Speakers of Other Languages courses prior to August 2011. [73867]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1150W

Mr Hayes: We do not directly record the number of learners who have been granted refugee status. We do, however, collect information on why a learner has received fee remission for a particular learning aim they undertake. From data we can provide information on learners who are in receipt of full fee remission through being an asylum seeker in receipt of the equivalent of an income-based state benefit, but this should be used with caution given that it does not provide a full picture of the range of entitlements that a person has.

Based on the “fees waived” field in the Individualised Learner Record, in the 2009/10 academic year, the latest year for which final data are available, 7,200 English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) enrolments for adult (19+) learners received fee remission through being an asylum seeker in receipt of the equivalent of an income-based benefit.

Information on participation on ESOL courses is published in a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 23 June 2011 at:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

Government Departments: Procurement

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of reductions in central Government (a) capital expenditure and (b) procurement of goods on the level of manufacturing output in 2010. [74522]

Mr Prisk: Available data and evidence are not yet sufficient to enable BIS to undertake a reliable assessment of the impact on manufacturing output in 2010 at this time. The Government's top priority is to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth. Sound public finances are essential for sustainable growth. We are also taking action as set out in the Plan for Growth to create the best possible climate for enterprise and growth in the UK, including action to support advanced manufacturing by encouraging higher levels of innovation, exports, business investment and technical skills as well as cutting excessive red tape.

Higher Education: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency in each ethnic group (a) applied to enter university and (b) were successful in their application in each of the last five years. [73079]

Mr Willetts: The information is in the following table and has been provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Applicants and accepted applicants domiciled in Birmingham Ladywood (1 ) constituency by ethnicity (2)
  2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Ethnic background Applicants Accepted Applicants Accepted Applicants Accepted Applicants Accepted Applicants Accepted

Black, Asian, mixed and other ethnic backgrounds

808

582

892

646

982

728

1,107

779

1,281

613

White

96

72

100

75

101

73

146

103

175

124

Unknown

258

229

232

188

315

263

323

261

202

151

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20 Oct 2011 : Column 1152W

Grand total

1,162

883

1,224

909

1,398

1,064

1,576

1,143

1,658

1,088

(1) Birmingham Ladywood constituency has been identified using the home postcode regardless of declared area of permanent residence. 2. While completion of the ethnic origin field is mandatory for those with a declared area of permanent residence in the UK, applicants can indicate that they prefer not to say what their ethnic origin is. Data on the ethnic origin of applicants are not passed to institutions until after the selection process. Where the ethnic origin has not been detailed in this analysis this is recorded as “Unknown”.

Higher Education: Italy

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the outcome was of the recent meeting between the Minister of State for Universities and Science and the Italian Education Minister Gelmini regarding British lettori working in Italian universities. [74759]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 October 2011]: It is not the normal practice of the Government to disclose details of their discussions with foreign Governments.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the outcome was of his meeting with the Italian Minister for Education, Universities and Research to discuss the position of foreign lecturers working at Italian universities. [74926]

Mr Willetts: It is not the normal practice of the Government to disclose details of their discussions with foreign Governments.

Iceland: Debts

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what advice his Department is providing to companies owed money by Icelandic financial institutions. [75375]

Mr Prisk: HM Treasury have taken the lead on this issue.

Affected businesses are creditors in the administrations of the failed Icelandic banks. Further information, including contact details for the administrators, are available on the HM Treasury website:

http://hm-treasury.gov.uk/fin_stability_icelandic_banks.htm

Manufacturing Industries

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to encourage growth in manufacturing output; and if he will make a statement. [74523]

Mr Prisk: Working with industry, this Government are taking action aimed at increasing growth in manufacturing output in the UK by encouraging higher levels of innovation, exports, business investment and technical skills as well as cutting excessive red tape. The Plan for Growth announced as part of Budget 2011 included a package of measures to stimulate the growth of engineering and advanced manufacturing, including changes to capital allowances, the launch of a High Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC) as well as nine new university-based research centres, funding for 10,000 additional higher apprenticeships, and action to promote the image of the sector.

We are now making good progress on implementing these actions. For example, on 11 October a £140 million investment in the country's first TIC—focused on high value manufacturing—was announced. Between 10 and 21 October the second phase of the automotive pilot of See Inside Manufacturing was also launched. Over 40 world-class automotive manufacturers opened their doors allowing teachers, careers advisors and young people to see first hand some of the UK's world-class automotive and motorsport facilities and research centres to raise awareness of the diverse range of careers available. On 14 October, we also announced the new supplier for the reformed Manufacturing Advisory Service which will go live from January 2012 and includes an additional £7 million to deliver supply chain activities over the next three years.

We will report on the progress of these and other Plan for Growth measures at the time of the autumn statement.

Manufacturing Industries: Finance

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage investment in the manufacturing industry in (a) England, (b) the West Midlands and (c) the Black Country. [73157]

Mr Prisk: Working with business, this Government are taking action to strengthen and grow modern manufacturing in the UK by encouraging higher levels of innovation, exports, business investment and technical skills as well as cutting excessive red tape. The Plan for Growth announced as part of Budget 2011 included a package of measures to stimulate the growth of engineering and advanced manufacturing, including changes to capital allowances, the launch of a High Value Manufacturing Technology and Innovation Centre as well as nine new university-based research centres, funding for 10,000 additional higher apprenticeships, and action to promote the image of the sector.

In addition to these national actions, there are six local enterprise partnerships covering the West Midlands (including one covering the four Black Country local authorities). These business public sector partnerships are focused on supporting their local businesses through a range of measures which will encourage investment in manufacturing. These include Enterprise Zones (eg i54), local enterprise areas, and business support measures.

Research Councils: Public Appointments

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria his Department uses to make appointments to the governing councils of the research councils. [75883]

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1153W

Mr Willetts: The parameters of council membership are set out in a Council's Royal Charter. For six of the seven research councils their Royal Charter states that the council must consist of a Chair, a Chief Executive and Deputy Chair, and between 19 and 18 other members. Half of these must be appointed on account of their relevant academic qualifications. The Science and Technology Facilities Council's Royal Charter states that it must consist of a Chair, Chief Executive and from six to 10 other members, of whom no more than a third should be employed members of the council.

The Royal Charters also state that the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills shall consult each research council Chair about the criteria for particular council member appointments when they arise.

Within these parameters, and taking in to account the advice of the Chair on the required balance of expertise and experience on the council, the selection criteria for new appointments is agreed between the council and the Department. The recruitment process is conducted in accordance with the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Vacancies are then advertised for candidates meeting the criteria.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what remuneration his Department gives to people serving on the governing councils of the research councils; what expenses may be claimed by such members; and whether such expenses include travel and hotel accommodation. [75884]

Mr Willetts: Eligible council members of the UK's seven research councils are currently entitled to receive an honorarium of £6,850 per annum. Council members who chair boards are entitled to receive a total honorarium of £9,110 per annum. Council chairs are entitled to receive a total honorarium of £16,430 per annum. No honorarium is paid to civil servants or employees of organisations whose funds are derived from votes of Parliament.

Reasonable expenses incurred in pursuit of council business can be claimed by council members. This includes travel and accommodation costs.

Students: Disability

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure that disabled students have the opportunity to live in university accommodation that is accessible; and if he will make a statement. [75580]

Mr Willetts: University accommodation is provided at the discretion of higher education institutions themselves, and is not funded by Government. The majority of institutions provide student accommodation either directly or through relationships with housing providers. Higher

20 Oct 2011 : Column 1154W

education institutions have duties under the Equality Act 2010 to support disabled students in higher education when applying to higher education and when studying. The legal duties apply to both educational and non-educational services, facilities and benefits including residential accommodation, where it is provided.

The law establishes a framework of responsibility which higher education institutions must comply with and also promotes an anticipatory and proactive approach to supporting disabled students. Universities are required to make reasonable .adjustments for disabled students to ensure that they can fully participate in the education and enjoy the other benefits, facilities and services which are provided for students. Making reasonable adjustments applies to the provision of university accommodation (where that service is offered) and ensuring it is accessible. Universities are required to plan to meet the needs of disabled students, make the adjustments that may be required, and periodically review their policies and provision.

The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), the independent sector body which supports higher education institutions on equality matters, has developed two guidance documents with the Association for Student Residential Accommodation (ASRA) and other relevant higher education organisations to assist universities in establishing inclusive campuses. These include good practice on student accommodation and disabled students and are available on the ECU'S website:

http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/student-accommodation-providers-handbook

and

http://www.ecu.ac.uk/publications/inclusive-campus

The Government are committed to fair access to higher education for all with the talent, ability and potential to succeed.

Technology Strategy Board

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what regional representation there is on the Technology Strategy Board; and how often it meets outside Wiltshire. [75806]

Mr Willetts: Members of the governing board of the Technology Strategy Board are appointed only on the basis of their experience and knowledge of key technology areas and their ability to bring a personal perspective to the exploitation of science, technology and new ideas by business. Regional representation plays no role in their appointment, but the current board members are located from across the UK: London (three), Scotland (two), Winchester, Suffolk, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sunbury-on-Thames, Cardiff, Guildford, Stockport and Portsmouth.

The Technology Strategy Board has held 29 formal governing board meetings since it was established in July 2007 and of these 27 were held outside Wiltshire.