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Pay Bands

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the pay bands are for (a) school teachers and (b) further education college lecturers. [2994]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 9 July 2001]: Main scale classroom teachers are paid on a scale from £17,001 to £24,843. We do not collect information on pay bands for further education college lecturers, however, a national review of staffing and pay in further education, undertaken by ORC International, indicates that the mean salary for full-time teachers in FE is £22,769.

Fosters Field, Sherborne

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills when she plans to announce a decision on Fosters Field in Sherborne. [3195]

Mr. Timms: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State expects to announce a decision within the next few weeks.

Secondary Schools (Hillingdon)

Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many pupils in the London borough of Hillingdon have not had an offer of a secondary school place for September. [2827]

Mr. Timms: My Department does not collect this information. However, my officials have been in touch with Hillingdon local education authority, which has a

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duty to secure that sufficient primary and secondary schools are available for the children in its area. At present, the authority is in the process of establishing whether parents who have not accepted a place in any of the borough's own schools have accepted a place in a school in a neighbouring borough. The LEA has said that, overall, there are sufficient school places available in the borough for any local child who needs one.


Mrs. May: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many universities have indicated that they will admit students on the basis of AS qualifications alone; and if she will list these universities. [3107]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 9 July 2001]: The requested information is not currently held centrally by the Department.

Higher education institutions establish their own admissions criteria and supply summary details relating to full-time undergraduate courses to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The data that UCAS hold about institutions and courses requiring AS qualifications alone are still subject to verification by the institutions but should be available for release in approximately four weeks time, when they will be placed in the Library.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Mr. Pike: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what monitoring has taken place of the pilot areas on EMAs, including the travel EMAs; and what plans she has to extend them to enable more people to continue in further education. [3193]

Mr. Ivan Lewis: The impact of the EMA transport pilots is being thoroughly evaluated as a discrete part of the overall evaluation of the EMA scheme. We will also draw on a mapping study of current LEA transport provision for people in learning, which will be completed in the autumn.

The evaluation of the EMA scheme is designed to cover a three year period in order to assess the impact on achievement as well as on participation and retention in further education. Initial findings from the first stage of the EMA evaluation are encouraging. We will consider the case for further expansion of the scheme in light of further evaluation and as part of the spending review.

Medical Degree Courses

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans she has to review the ethnic composition of entrants to medical degree courses. [1733]

Margaret Hodge: I shall ask my officials to review with the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Council of Heads of Medical Schools, the number of applications and acceptances for ethnic minority students in medical schools in England.

The number of medical school places was increased by 1,100 in 2000 and by a further 1,000 earlier this year. In both cases, when medical schools bid for extra places they were asked to demonstrate an active commitment to the

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recruitment of students from a broad range of social and ethnic backgrounds, to reflect the patterns of the population that they serve.

Although higher education institutions are responsible for their own recruitment and admissions procedures, we have said that these should be transparent and based on published criteria so that selection is on the basis of an applicant's ability and potential. I understand that the universities are discussing progress on this issue with the Commission for Racial Equality.


Cheque Shops

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what representations she has received from the Office of Fair Trading about the operating methods of cheque shops; and if she will make a statement. [3062]

Miss Melanie Johnson: None.

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) how many cheque shops (a) are and (b) were in each of the past 10 years licensed in the United Kingdom; [3053]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Director General of Fair Trading does not hold records in the form specified and this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Cheques Act

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact the Cheques Act 1992 has had upon those who do not have a bank account in terms of the price of credit. [3059]

Miss Melanie Johnson: I have not made any assessment.

"Extortionate Irresponsible Lending"

Tony Worthington: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what is the definition of the phrase "extortionate and irresponsible lending" as used by the Office of Fair Trading. [3054]

Miss Melanie Johnson: The Consumer Credit Act 1974 contains provisions on extortionate credit bargains in sections 137–141. There is no equivalent statutory definition of irresponsible lending. However, the Office of Fair Trading issued guidelines earlier this year containing information about the type of practices which might cause it to take regulatory action against consumer credit licence holders.

Inward Investment

Mr. Joyce: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on levels of inward investment into the UK. [3667]

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Ms Hewitt: With my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, I am pleased to inform the House that Invest·UK announced in its annual review, published today, that the UK has delivered another year of outstanding inward investment performance.

For the period between 1 April 2000 and 31 March 2001, the number of direct investment projects by foreign owned companies into the UK reported to Invest·UK by its partner agencies in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regional development agencies totalled 869. Based on information provided by the companies at the time of the announcement, it is estimated that these projects will create 71,488 new jobs.

This performance is proof of global confidence in the UK's economic and business environment. More overseas companies choose to invest here than anywhere else in Europe because the UK is the best place to do business.

I am arranging for a copy of Invest·UK's Annual Review to be placed in the Library of the House.

Telecommunications Report

Brian White: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she has received the report by the Director General of Telecommunications for the year 2000, as required under section 55 of the Telecommunications Act 1984. [3704]

Mr. Alexander: Yes. The 17th report by the Director General of Telecommunications is being published today. It covers the period 1 January to 31 December 2000. This includes initiatives to encourage the widespread provision of unmetered internet access and other initiatives to promote the interests of consumers and promote a competitive telecoms market. Copies of the report have been laid before each House of Parliament.


Digital Divide

Mr. Nigel Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what policies she is pursuing to bridge the urban-rural digital divide; and if she will make a statement. [1809]

Alun Michael: As set out in the rural White Paper (Chapter 7.5.2–3) it is the Government's policy to stimulate and promote industry investment in higher band width services so that as many people as possible can get faster access to the internet and other information services. Policy on the costs of access and competition in the internet access market are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. My concern is to ensure that rural areas do not lose out and we have asked the Countryside Agency to monitor the rollout of broadband in rural areas. My colleagues and I will take their assessment into account in developing policy, including consideration of the case for requiring the communications industry to make higher band-width available as part of a universal service obligation.

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