Wellingborough

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will relocate his Department to Wellingborough. [132922]

Mr Hoban: The Department already undertakes some activities in Wellingborough at the Jobcentre Plus in West Villa Road. However, it would be impractical to relocate the rest of the Department to Wellingborough.

Work Programme

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what guidance his Department gives to Work programme placement providers which wish to refer a customer for sanctions. [131978]

Mr Hoban: The 'Work Programme Provider Guidance' Chapter 6 'Raising a Compliance Doubt' is available to providers on the Department's website at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/supplying-dwp/what-we-buy/welfare-to-work-services/provider-guidance/work-programme-provider.shtml

Providers follow this guidance when a Work programme participant fails to comply with a mandated activity, referring cases where appropriate to Jobcentre Plus where a decision maker will consider whether imposing a sanction is appropriate.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2012, Official Report, column 56W, on the Work programme, how many former incapacity benefit claimants have participated in the Work programme in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c) each local authority. [133593]

Mr Hoban: Statistics on how many former incapacity benefit claimants have participated in the Work programme in (a) Great Britain, (b) Scotland and (c) each local authority can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=tabtool

Guidance for users is available at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/tabtools/guidance.pdf

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 10 December 2012, Official Report, column 55W, on the Work programme, whether he requires all Work programme providers to develop plans for improving performance. [133768]

Mr Hoban: All Work programme providers have been required to develop and put in place performance development plans for each of their Work programme contracts.

17 Dec 2012 : Column 659W

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average length of an apprenticeship has been in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Liverpool and (c) nationally in each of the last 10 years. [133374]

Matthew Hancock [holding answer 13 December 2012]: Table 1 shows the adjusted average length of an apprenticeship framework in Liverpool Walton constituency, Liverpool local education authority and England for 2009/10 to 2011/12 (provisional). Final data are shown for the 2009/10 and 2010/11 academic years and provisional data are shown for the 2011/12 academic year.

Data prior to 2009/10 on the adjusted measure basis are not available, 2011/12 is the latest year for which data are available.

Care should be taken when interpreting apprenticeship durations as they are dependent on the mix of apprenticeship levels and frameworks, and the prior attainment of learners (some will already have completed parts of the apprenticeship). The adjusted measure is intended to exclude those apprentices with some prior attainment.

Table 1: Average length of stay by geography, 2009/10 to 2011/12 (provisional)
Months
 2009/102010/112011/12 (provisional)

Liverpool Walton parliamentary constituency

15

12

11

Liverpool local education authority

15

12

11

England total

15

13

12

Notes: 1. Provisional data for 2011/12 should not be directly compared with data for earlier years. 2. Average length of stay (adjusted) is based on the actual end date of the apprenticeship as recorded in the ILR; it only includes those achievements within the academic year that were fully funded. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Provisional data for the 2011/12 academic year provide an early view of performance and will change as further data returns are received from further education colleges and providers. They should not be directly compared with final year data from previous years. Figures for 2011/12 will be finalised in January 2013.

Information on apprenticeship achievements by duration is published within the ‘Other Statistics' section of the SFR website:

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

From August 2012 Ministers have decided that an apprenticeship must last at least 12 months for under 19s, and for adults unless prior learning is recorded and funding reduced accordingly, in order to ensure that every apprenticeship involves sufficient new learning and opportunity to embed new skills.

17 Dec 2012 : Column 660W

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many new apprenticeship places have been made available in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) the North West and (c) England in the last year. [133631]

Matthew Hancock: Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by geography are published in Supplementary Tables to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR):

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/87E140BF-810D-4C48-A5C1-9C8B84B46117/0/October2012_Apprenticeship_starts.xls

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

The latest SFR containing headline apprenticeship starts figures was published on 11 October 2012:

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

Data are not available on the number of starts that were new apprenticeship places.

Basic Skills

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his Department's core adult skills budget (a) is for 2012-13 and (b) will be for the next three financial years. [133816]

Matthew Hancock: The Skills Funding Statement 2012-15, published on 6 December 2012, sets out the Adult Skills Budget for 2012-13 and 2013-14 financial years (FY), and the indicative budget for 2014-15 FY. Details can be found in the finance table of the document, on page 15, at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/s/12-p172-skills-funding-statement-2012-2015.pdf

The Department has budgets set up until the end of the current spending review period (2014-15). The autumn statement on 5 December 2012, Official Report, columns 871-82, confirmed the envelope for total managed expenditure in 2015-16, and announced that detailed plans for spending in 2015-16, including the breakdown by Department, will be set out in the first half of next year.

Business: Government Assistance

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on support for small businesses. [131929]

Michael Fallon: Ministers and officials regularly engage with small businesses and their representative groups to discuss a range of issues affecting small businesses, including business support. On 24 October, I chaired the Small Business Economic Forum, which brings together representatives of business and finance. This provided an opportunity to discuss a number of issues including equity aversion among small businesses, the new Business Bank, finance issues for employee owned businesses, Global Entrepreneurship Week, prompt payment, and the British Bankers' Association's Business Finance Taskforce. I also had one of my quarterly meetings with the Federation of Small Businesses on

17 Dec 2012 : Column 661W

1 November, where we discussed Interest Rate Swaps and the autumn statement of 5 December 2012,

Official Report,

columns 871-882.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and I also meet regularly with our Entrepreneurs' Forum, a group of individual entrepreneurs. The Forum last met on 2 October, to discuss the development of the Business Bank, branding of business support, and support to small businesses on exporting.

Business: Liverpool

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses in Liverpool have received funding from (a) the Growth Accelerator, (b) Business In You, (c) the Business Growth Fund, (d) UK Trade and Investment Export for Growth, (e) export finance, (f) equity, (g) mezzanine support and (h) the North West Fund in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and what information his Department holds on the total number of businesses in Liverpool. [133376]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 13 December 2012]: The information is as follows:

(a) Growth Accelerator is a new £200 million, three year programme to help up to 26,000 of England's fastest growing businesses achieve their ambition and potential to achieve rapid and sustainable growth. It will help small businesses with potential overcome barriers to growth and make a significant contribution to private sector-led recovery. There are 55 companies from the Liverpool city Local Enterprise Partnership area on the Growth Accelerator programme.

(b) Business in You is not a funding programme. It is a partnership between private enterprise and Government to highlight support for start-ups and growing businesses.

(c) The Business Growth Fund is an independent privately run investment fund, without control or stake from Government, and Government do not collect details of its investments.

(d) Exporting for Growth sets out the range of support companies can receive from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), to help them export, and in Liverpool, over the year 1 November 2011 to 31 October 2012, 331 companies received export support.

(e) UK Export Finance does not provide businesses with funding. It issues trade credit insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks that make loans to buyers to finance the purchase of supplies from UK companies. In 2011-12, UK Export Finance has not provided support, by way of credit insurance and guarantees, in respect of businesses in Liverpool.

(f) BIS invests directly in a range of equity funds that make investments into SMEs, including the Enterprise Capital Fund programme. One company in Liverpool has received investment from equity funds directly supported by BIS in the last 12 months.

As well as funds directly supported by BIS, there are a range of other sources of equity investment for companies in Liverpool on which the Department does not hold data. This includes the £170 million North West Fund, which is financed by European Structural Funds and provides equity finance ranging from £50,000 to £2 million to small companies in the North West. The

17 Dec 2012 : Column 662W

Government also supports equity investment in SMEs through a range of tax incentives for investors, including the new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.

(g) Through the Regional Growth Fund, Government support Santander's breakthrough programme which provides businesses with support, training and access to mezzanine finance. As yet, no mezzanine finance has been provided to businesses based in the Liverpool area within this programme.

(h) There were 22 companies supported from December 2010 to September 2012 in Liverpool by the North West Fund. In March 2012, there were 9,700 businesses registered for either VAT and/or PAYE in the Liverpool local authority area. These figures exclude the very smallest non-employing businesses, for which data are not available.

Business: Loans

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 246-47W, on business: loans, what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of small and medium-sized businesses in each region who have had (a) an overdraft and (b) a business loan application rejected by a bank in each quarter of each year since March 2010; and if he will make a statement. [133819]

Michael Fallon: Pursuant to my previous response of 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 246-47W, on business loans, the Government do not collect statistics on the proportion of applicants for loans and overdrafts who are successful, but an estimate is available from the independently conducted SME Finance Monitor published by BDRC. This survey lists the geographical region of each respondent, and BDRC makes this publicly available at the UK Data Archive. Despite the large number of SMEs surveyed, (5,000 each quarter), the small proportion which apply for external finance from banks in any one quarter (around 2.5%) means that statistically robust estimates of success rate are not available on a quarterly basis.

BDRC has published regional breakdowns based on their first full year of data in April 2012, which was published and is freely available on the SME Finance Monitor website at:

www.sme-finance-monitor.co.uk

and will publish its next annual report in the spring.

That publicly available report, accessed on 12 December 2012 showed that the proportion of small and medium-sized businesses in each region who ended up with no facility after having applied for (a) an overdraft and (b) a business loan application were as follows:

Percentage
Region(a) Of applicants for ‘overdrafts’ which ended up with no facility(b) Of applicants for ‘loans’ which ended up with no facility

North East

13

46*

Yorkshire and Humber

*21

27

North West

21

25

West Midlands

*17

*47

East Midlands

21

40

East Anglia

**8

35

South West

8

41

London

16

34

17 Dec 2012 : Column 663W

South East

18

30

Scotland

11

22

Wales

*26

31

Northern Ireland

*28

14

National average

17

33

Note: An asterisk indicates that applicants in that region were statistically less likely to have ended the process with a facility, (and a double asterisk indicates they were more likely), once business demographics (such as size, age and risk rating) and the reason for application were taken into account. The report, however, stresses that this is unlikely to be caused by them being in the given region per se, and instead will be a reflection of other factors about the business, only some of which have been captured in the survey.

EU Law

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of new UK legislation has originated in the EU since 1997. [132961]

Michael Fallon: The OECD estimates that at least 50% of national regulations in EU member states have their origin in EU legislation. In order to increase transparency, in the forthcoming Statement of New Regulation (SNR5) the Government will, for the first time, be listing details of those new European Union (EU) measures which are being implemented in UK law in the next six months and have a direct effect on business.

Further Education: Finance

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of the 2.8% increase in funding for further education colleges announced on 6 December 2012 is (a) capital and (b) revenue funding. [133815]

Matthew Hancock: The Skills Funding Statement 2012-2015, published on 6 December 2012, set out the funding available for investment in the further education and skills sector in 2013-14:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/further-education-skills/docs/s/12-p172-skills-funding-statement-2012-2015.pdf

Grants

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding his Department has allocated to each region of England for (a) its local economic partnership and (b) the Regional Growth Fund in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12 and (iii) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [134111]

Michael Fallon: The 39 local enterprise partnerships have been offered the following funding. These figures are not available by region. The autumn statement announced that the Government will provide £10 million per year for capacity building within LEPs. Each LEP will be able to apply for up to £250,000 additional funding per year to develop and deliver strategic plans.

17 Dec 2012 : Column 664W

Local enterprise partnership funding2011/122012/13

Start-up fund (challenge-based funding to help put their core operational capacity in place)

£5 million

Capacity fund (for development and delivery of activities)

£1 million(1)

£3 million(2)

Core funding (for long-term resource planning and strengthen support and autonomy of the business-led boards)

£125,000 per LEP(3)

(1) Challenge funding.

(2) Equal allocation for each LEP over a three-year period.

(3) Jointly given by BIS and DCLG with up to £250,000 per LEP for the next two years on a matched fund basis.

The following table shows the regional distribution of RGF funds from the three bidding rounds. This funding is available from 2011-16 and is paid to bidders as they claim according to how the project or programme progresses. I will be issuing a written ministerial statement on the Regional Growth Fund in the new year and this will set out progress to date.

£ million
RegionRound 1Round 2Round 3

North West

28

212

142

West Midlands

107

126

184

North East

62

100

170

East Midlands

20

72

38

Yorkshire and the Humber

45

122

101

South West

8

91

105

South East

6

75

49

East of England

0

10

31

London

0

0

9

National

175

90

224

Total

451

898

1,053

Higher Education: Scotland

Mr Darling: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of all grants awarded by UK research councils was awarded to universities in Scotland in each year since 2007-08. [133753]

Mr Willetts: The following table gives a breakdown of the proportion of funding awarded to universities in Scotland in each year from 2007-08. Figures were not available for 2011-12.

Grant funding from Research Councils
 2010-112009-102008-092007-08

Total for all HEIs(1) in UK (£)

2,713,391

2,703,423

2,599,867

2,281,293

Total for HEIs in Scotland (£)

356,289

356,640

356,794

304,958

     

Percentage of total funding to Scotland

13.13

13.19

13.72

13.37

(1) Higher education institution

Postgraduate Education: Finance

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) doctoral, (b) taught masters and (c) research masters postgraduate degree course places there were in each subject area that were funded by (i) the Higher Education Funding Council of England and Wales, (b) the Research Councils and

17 Dec 2012 : Column 665W

(iii) other organisations in the public sector in (A) 2010-11 and (B) 2011-12; what estimate he has made of the number of such places in (1) 2012-13 and (2) 2013-14; and if he will make a statement. [132082]

Mr Willetts: Information on the number of postgraduate taught (PGT) and postgraduate research (PGR) full-time equivalent students (FTEs) counted in the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE) teaching and research funding methodologies for England are shown in Tables 1 and 2 as follows. The postgraduate taught figures are broken down into the following broad subject areas:

(A) The clinical stages of medicine and dentistry courses and veterinary science.

(B) Laboratory-based subjects (science, pre-clinical stages of medicine and dentistry, engineering and technology).

(C) Subjects with a studio, laboratory or fieldwork element.

(D) All other subjects.

Table 1: Estimate of number of postgraduate taught (PGT) FTEs (English institutions)
Price group2010-11 FTEs2011-12 FTEs

A

1,941.80

1,941.80

B

11,055.20

11,079.50

C

33,042.40

33,466.80

D

34,868.10

35,029.70

Total

80,907.60

81,517.80

Sources: 2010-11 FTEs taken from HESES/HEIFES10 and the 2010-11 monitoring return 2011-12 FTEs taken from the October 2011-12 sector grant tables

17 Dec 2012 : Column 666W

Table 2: Number of postgraduate research (PGR) FTEs (English institutions)
Subject areaEligible PGR FTEs in 2010-11 fundingEligible PGR FTEs in 2011-12 fundingEligible PGR FTEs in 2012-13 funding

Sciences (including medicine)

23,080

24,614

23,972

Social Sciences

9,101

9,976

9,619

Arts and humanities

7,472

8,096

7,769

Total England

39,654

42,686

41,360

Source: Eligible PGR students in years 1 to 3 of full-time study (and part-time equivalent) taken from the 2009 and 2010 HEFCE Research Activity Surveys. Also Eligible PGR FTEs extracted from 2010-11 HESA Student Record.

Estimates for PGT FTE for 2012-13 provided by institutions in 2011 are known to be unreliable. Data will be available shortly from HEFCE on final PGT FTE outturn numbers for 2012-13. Data are not yet available to predict eligible PGT or PGR FTE for 2013-14.

Research Councils

Table 3 as follows shows headcount figures on the number of taught masters, other masters, PhD and other doctoral studies places that were funded in 2010/11 and 2011/12. Table 4 shows what is expected to be funded in 2012/13 and 2013/14. The figures are broken down by Research Council.

Table 3: Number of headcount postgraduate places funded by RCUK (UK institutions)
 Taught MastersOther MastersPhDOther doctoral studies
 2010-112011-122010-112011-122010-112011-122010-112011-12

AHRC

607

486

729

719

BBSRC

110

110

555

525

EPSRC

2,944

2,450

ESRC

6

739

649

MRC

63

63

276

251

51

56

NERC

285

325

332

STFC

225

225

Total

285

0

786

659

5,793

5,151

51

56

Table 4: Estimated numbers of headcount postgraduate places funded by RCUK (UK institutions) for the next 2 years
 Taught MastersOther MastersPhDOther doctoral studies
 2012-132013-142012-132013-142012-132013-142012-132013-14

AHRC

355

339

692

689

BBSRC

0

0

405

420

EPSRC

2,300

2,200

ESRC

6

6

753

600

MRC

66

68

178

190

45

50

NERC

325

325

17 Dec 2012 : Column 667W

17 Dec 2012 : Column 668W

STFC

225

225

Total:

0

0

427

413

4,878

4,649

45

50

Notes: 1. The data do not take in to account any funds leveraged by HEIs to increase the total number of studentship places available. 2. 2011/12 data—These replace previous estimates with the actual numbers. 3. If universities choose to support part-time students and fees-only students, and/or match Research Council funding with that from other sources, then more students will be able to be supported; PhD students may also be supported by larger Research Grants from some councils. 4. MRC data (i) The figures presented above are the number of new student places funded by the MRC which started in the specified year. (ii) The data presented for ‘Other Masters' exclude any studentships where a Masters has been funded as part of doctoral study. MRC does not fund ‘Taught Masters'. (iii) The data presented under ‘other doctoral training' were clinically trained students funded as Clinical Research Training Fellows. (iv) All of the data presented above exclude studentships at MRC funded Centres and Units. Approximately 100 students a year start their PhD studentship in one of MRC's units or institutes. 5. AHRC data Figures may be subject to change depending on a number of factors. The majority of the students funded will be supported through the AHRC's Block Grant Partnership schemes. The figures provided are based on full-time students in receipt of fees & maintenance. 6. BBSRC data All Masters students are included in ‘Other Masters’. Separate figures are not available for Taught and Research Masters. PhD studentship numbers for the last two years are estimates from data based on returns provided by awarded institutions. 7. EPSRC data EPSRC only supports Masters level training when it aligns with its broader strategy. For this reason, in 2009 it decided to focus most of its support in this area on activities which employ Masters-level training as a means of developing highly skilled doctoral-level researchers, rather than those which view the provision of Masters graduates as an end in itself. As a result, its current support for Masters level training is delivered via the Centres for Doctoral Training, Doctoral Training Accounts and some courses in Mathematical Sciences (e.g. Statistics). Not all of these routes provide students with a formal Masters qualification so it would be difficult to be definitive about numbers over a specific period. 8. ESRC data ESRC funds a mix of +3 (PhD), 1+3 (Masters + PhD) and other structured awards. The data provided indicate new student places per year, rather than the total student stock each year. All new funded studentships are located within its Doctoral Training Centre Network to allow individual institutions greater flexibility to determine the structure of training required by each candidate. This means ESRC is unable to predict the exact structure of allocations for future years.

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether any proportion of the Regional Growth Fund monies announced in the Autumn Statement will be channelled through devolved Administrations. [133678]

Michael Fallon: £350 million announced for the Regional Growth Fund in the autumn statement includes £40 million for devolved Administrations through the Barnett Consequential.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn Statement of 5 December 2012, Official Report, columns 871-2, by what means monies for the new regional growth fund will be delivered; and by what date he expects to announce the details of the delivery mechanism. [133810]

Michael Fallon: The Chancellor announced additional funding for the Regional Growth Fund in his autumn statement. I have asked officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to work quickly across Whitehall to agree the best means of delivering this funding based upon the success of previous rounds. I will put proposals to my ministerial colleagues and an announcement will be made as soon as possible thereafter.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2012, Official Report, column 779W, on Regional Growth Fund, how many (a) bids and (b) individual awards under Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund have not yet received a final agreed offer; and what the monetary value is of such bids and awards. [133811]

Michael Fallon: 126 bids from Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund were conditionally allocated funding subject to confirmatory due diligence. These bids translate to 173 individual awards as some bids have multiple counterparties. Of these, 31 awards worth £135 million have yet to agree a final offer. Officials in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills aim to get these offers agreed by the end of the year.

Science: Research

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much expenditure on science and research he has announced since October 2010. [133665]

Mr Willetts: The Allocation of Science and Research 2011-15 was published in December 2010 and gives full details of the baseline expenditure for Science and Research for the financial year 2011-12 onwards:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/a/10-1356-allocation-of-science-and-research-funding-2011-2015

Since then, announcements have been made for additional capital expenditure in science and research totalling £1.52 billion. These investments will be made through the seven UK research councils, the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the UK Space Agency.

Skilled Workers: Construction

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent assessment his Department has made of the construction skills certification scheme and the green card holding scheme; [133842]

(2) if he will make it his policy to increase the requirements for eligibility for a construction skills certification scheme green card to include a series of

17 Dec 2012 : Column 669W

training modules in addition to the current Health and Safety Executive test; and if he will consider providing financial support to the construction industry to fund such additional requirements. [133843]

Michael Fallon: The Construction Skills Certification Scheme is an industry-led initiative. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not made any recent assessment of the scheme and there is no statutory requirement to hold this or equivalent qualifications.

While we welcome the positive contribution that the schemes makes, both to the industry and its clients, in promoting health and safety awareness and relevant competency standards, decisions on the scheme are a matter for the scheme's operators.

Student Wastage: Higher Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students left university before completing their degree in the last year for which figures are available. [132232]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) publishes information on non-continuation rates of undergraduate students, including projected outcomes (completion rates), through the HESA Performance Indicators release. The latest available figures show that 78.7% of full-time students starting first degree courses at English higher education institutions in 2009/10 were expected to complete their course and gain a degree level qualification; of the remaining 21.3%, 3.1% were projected to gain another award, 5.1% were projected to transfer to another institution, 0.2% had unknown outcomes, and 12.8% were expected to neither gain an award nor transfer.

Figures for students starting courses in the 2010/11 academic year will become available from March 2013. Further information on HESA performance indicators can be found at:

http://www.hesa.ac.uk/content/view/2072/141/

OECD statistics show that university completion rates in the UK compare well internationally. Latest estimates, provided in “Education at a Glance 2010: OECD Indicators”, showed the UK to have completion rates well above the OECD average.

Sunday Trading

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent representations he has received from trades unions on the level of pay to

17 Dec 2012 : Column 670W

shop workers working on Sundays; if he will place in the Library a copy of any response given; and if he will make a statement; [131927]

(2) what research he has (a) evaluated and (b) commissioned since September 2010 on the social implications of relaxing Sunday trading restrictions; if he will assess the potential effect of easing or removing existing restrictions on Sunday trading on (i) parental involvement in children's education and (ii) parent-child contact time; and if he will make a statement; [131928]

(3) what recent estimate he has made of the number of shop workers in each region (a) of each sex and (b) in each age group who have exercised a right not to work on a Sunday; [131975]

(4) if he will take steps to ensure that employees understand their right to opt out of Sunday working; and if he will make a statement. [132406]

Jo Swinson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for Business and Enterprise, the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Michael Fallon), to the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson) on 11 September 2012, Official Report, column 215W, regarding Sunday trading.

Legislation protects shop workers from having to work on Sunday if they do not wish to do so. With the exception of those employed to work solely on Sundays, they have the right to refuse to work on Sundays and cannot be dismissed for doing so. Even if they have agreed to work on Sundays, employees are free to change their minds subject to a three month notice period.

There have not been any recent representations from trades unions on the level of pay to shop workers. Like other terms and conditions, however, levels of pay are a matter for negotiation and agreement between the parties concerned, subject to requirement to pay the minimum wage.

There has been no assessment of the number of workers who have exercised a right to work on Sunday.

Since the provisions in the Sunday Trading Act 1994, now consolidated into the Employment Rights Act 1996, have been in force, information on an employee's right to opt out of Sunday working has been highly publicised by this Department, in the press and made readily available on former Government sponsored websites such as Directgov and businesslink and is now available on

www.gov.uk