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Mr. Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) how many foxes have been removed from the Royal Parks in each of the last four years; and what the method employed was; 
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month. The list does not include responses that have requested anonymity.
Mr. Timms [holding answer 9 July 2001]: We are committed to giving head teachers in successful schools greater managerial discretion in matters of pay and staffing. We plan to say more about this in a White Paper to be published in the autumn.
Mr. Rendel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many and what proportion of students (a) paid the full cost of, (b) paid the partial cost of and (c) were exempt from contributing towards the cost of tuition fees, each year since 1998; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge [holding answer 16 July 2001]: In England and Wales, under the Student Support Scheme, students and their families make a contribution towards tuition fees only if they can afford to do so. Students are assessed on family income.
In 199899 and 19992000 (the latest year for which data are available) the following table shows the proportions of students making a full/partial/nil contribution towards their fees. The proportion of students who are exempt from making any contributions is expected to increase to 50 per cent. in 200102, when the income threshold at which parents are expected to contribute will increase from £17,805 to £20,000 and the threshold for spouses will rise from £15,070 to £17,200. These increases are 10 per cent. above inflation.
|Number of students (000s)||Percentage of students||Number of students (000s)(79)||Percentage of students|
|Full student/parent/spouse contribution(80),(81)||84||35||168||35|
|Partial student/parent/spouse contribution||49||20||94||20|
|Nil student/parent/spouse contribution(82)||108||45||215||45|
(78) 19992000 data are provisional and as such may change.
(79) Student Support Scheme funding arrangements in higher education came into effect from the start of the 199899 academic year; 19992000 was the second year of the scheme accounting for the increase in student numbers.
(80) In 199899, includes students who withdrew from their course before the fee due data (and therefore no fee payment was made by Local Education Authorities).
(81) In 199899, includes an estimated 15,000 students who, because they did not expect to receive a contribution to their fees from public funds, did not make an application to their local authority.
(82) Includes students on courses where the fees were not subject to income-assessment (e.g. PGCE courses; and some other ITT courses; and some courses at private colleges).
F503G Survey of LEAs in England and Wales.
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Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what discussions she has had with the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning in the Welsh Assembly regarding the conclusions of the Independent Investigation Group on Student Hardship and Funding in Wales; and if she will make a statement; 
(2) what assistance she plans to give the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning in Wales to address student poverty; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: I met the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning on 17 July and we discussed the recent report of the Independent Investigation Group into Student Funding and Hardship. It is for the Assembly itself to respond to the recommendations in the report addressed to them and which fall within their powers.
Applications are increasing, and drop-out remains consistently low. The figures published by UCAS on 20 July show that overall the number of UK students applying to higher education has gone up by 2.4 per cent. In particular, there has been a 4.7 per cent. increase in the number of applications from students over 21. The latest Student Income and Expenditure Survey does not give evidence of widespread student hardship. However, we have increased support going to the most vulnerable students, those with dependants or with disabilities. For student parents entitled to receive maximum financial support, this could be up to £13,110or £17,425 if student loans are taken into accountper year. But we are not complacent, and will continue to review the effectiveness of the arrangements against our widening access and increasing participation objectives. Arrangements for further education student support are matters for each country but we will continue to keep in touch with each other when considering future developments.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what assessment she has made of the benefits of abolishing tuition fees throughout England and Wales; and if she will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The new funding arrangements for higher education introduced in 199899 provide for contributions from students, their parents and the taxpayer. From this autumn, 50 per cent. of students will make no contribution to tuition fees following changes in the parental income threshold.
There is no evidence to suggest that the new arrangements are deterring students from entering higher education. The total number of full-time students enrolled in HE has risen in each of the two years since contributions to fees were introduced. The latest published figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service show a 2.4 per cent. rise in UK applicants for entry in autumn 2001 and the figures for mature students show a rise of 4.7 per cent.
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