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Mr. Amess: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what consideration he has given to producing a Whole of Government annual report; what recent representations he has received on this issue; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: The National Statistician is responsible for the delivery of the Migration Statistics Improvement Programme, which is taking forward the delivery of the Interdepartmental Migration Task Force workplan. A ministerial group co-chaired by my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (John Healey), Minister for Local Government and my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East and Saddleworth (Mr. Woolas), Minister for Borders and Immigration, monitors and provides ministerial support for the programme.
Simon Hughes: To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what consultation by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) undertook with Government departments before the ONS's revised methodology for allocating international migrants to regions and local authority areas was published on 24 April 2007. 
As National Statistician, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning what consultation the Office for National Statistics had with Government departments before the Office's revised methodology for allocating international migrants to regions and local authority areas was published. (227234)
Over a significant period of time prior to implementation, ONS officials had regular discussions with the key Departmental users of population and migration statistics, specifically:
The Department for Communities and Local Government, given their role with local grant funding;
The Department of Health, including representation on the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the Advisory Committee for Resource Allocation (ACRA); and
The devolved administrations.
Also, at each stage in the development and implementation of the improved methodology, we kept government departments, local authorities and other users informed. Papers were submitted for discussion at the regular meetings held with the population sub-group of Central and Local Information Partnership (CLIP). Membership of CLIP includes representatives from Government departments, as well as from local government. The proposed new methodology was first discussed by CLIP in April 2006 prior to the announcement, in August 2006, of plans to implement the revised methods and the publication of indicative figures and explanatory papers in April 2007. Presentations of the methods were made at conferences and seminars, in particular British Society of Population Studies.
ONS is now leading a cross-departmental programme of work to improve migration and population statistics that has been in place since April 2008. We liaise closely with other government departments who are members of a steering group overseeing this work. The Local Government Association is also represented on the steering group.
Through this, a series of working groups that meet regularly, seminars and workshops that are arranged to engage local stakeholders, ONS continues to liaise closely with central and local Government on the improving migration statistics programme.
Kevin Brennan: The administration costs for the financial year 2007-08 of the Office of the Third Sector are published as part of the Cabinet Office Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08. Copies are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Lammy: Blackpool is one of the areas which will benefit from our new university challenge policy to expand locally accessible higher education. As a result of previous decisions taken by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and other funders, there will be new opportunities through the establishment of a higher education centre supported by the University of Lancaster. I would like to wish the centre and others like it every success in their efforts to unlock the talent of the people and places they serve.
10.Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent steps the Government have taken to increase the numbers of students in further and higher education. 
Mr. Lammy: Government spending on higher education has increased by 24 per cent. in real terms from 1997-98 to 2008-09 to more than £8 billion a year. A record 1,156,000 places are funded in 2008-09. So far, acceptances for 2008 entry show a rise of 7 per cent. on 2007 Planned further education spending on adult skills will increase from £4.8 billion in 2007-08 to £5.3 billion by 2010-11. This will support around three million funded adult learners per year. To date, we have exceeded our Skills for Life target for 2010, and increased the number of adults in the work force qualified to level 2 to 2.1 million compared with 2001.
Mr. Simon: The latest available figures show that in 2006-07, there were (provisionally) around 131,000 students studying for a higher education qualification in a further education college in England.
Mr. Simon: FE colleges play a valuable role in delivering Train to Gain and Apprenticeships programmes, responding to the needs of employers to ensure their employees have the skills they need to remain competitive. We are investing £18 million pounds through the World Class Skills Programme to help FE colleges to help them respond to employer demand. The Training Quality Standard for Employer Responsiveness and the National Skills Academies will also strengthen colleges' ability in this area.
11. Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he next expects to meet representatives of the construction industry to discuss skills levels in that industry. 
Mr. Simon: Ministers in this Department are in regular touch with representatives of the construction industry about skills levels in the industry, both about immediate issues like sustaining apprenticeships, and about longer term skills needs. These meetings will continue.
12. Mr. Andy Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what support his Department has given to collaborative public-private research and development programmes in universities; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Lammy: According to the HEBCI survey in 2008, university income from external sources is at an unprecedented level, currently £2.6 billion per annum. The Government support public-private research collaborations through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, which will give £396 million to support knowledge transfer over the three years of the current round, the Technology Strategy Board and all seven of the Research Councils. For example, EPSRC spends 40 per cent. of its budget on collaborative research.
14. Mr. Devine: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government plan to take to ensure that apprentices do not lose their jobs in the current economic situation. 
Mr. Simon: To help apprentices through the current economic situation, we have set up a clearing house for construction apprentices which has already placed two-thirds of those referred with a new employer or training provider.
We will examine urgently whether this model can be developed in other sectors. And we will look at additional ways of providing apprenticeships, including the employment of apprentices by Group Training Associations; and giving the best employers support to train more apprentices than they themselves need in order to equip smaller companies in their supply chain.
15. Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what funding his Department is providing to support apprenticeships in the construction trades in 2008-09. 
Funding for apprenticeships is planned to increase by almost a quarter between 2007-08 and 2010-11, to over £1.1 billion. We do not allocate funds on a sectoral basis. We are concerned about the position of apprentices in the construction industry and just a few weeks ago, my right hon. Friend announced a new taskforce with major employers and unions to explore how we expand construction apprenticeships and improve training opportunities. We also announced the creation
of a clearing house to match redundant construction apprentices with employers in their region to enable them to finish their training.
16. Anne Moffat: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government are taking to ensure that young people are aware of available apprenticeship opportunities. 
Mr. Simon: The current Education and Skills Bill requires schools to provide impartial careers education. Information about apprenticeships is included in 14-19 area prospectuses. We are also building a new apprenticeships national vacancy matching service which will enable employers to advertise vacancies for young people wanting apprenticeships to consider the opportunities and make application online.
The Apprenticeships Draft Bill contains provision to ensure that schools inform young people about apprenticeships. We are also examining whether it is possible to achieve this outcome without primary legislation through other mechanisms such as statutory guidance.
17. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps the Government are taking to improve the skills training available to employees of small businesses. 
Mr. Simon: The Government are investing significant funding through the Train to Gain programme, which by 2010-11 will rise to over £1 billion a year. 61 per cent. of learners that accessed a Train to Gain funded course in 2006/07 were employed by employers of up to 250 employees.
In addition, the leadership and management programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Train to Gain supported over 2,400 employers in 2007/08. We are increasing investment in this programme to £30 million per year for the next three years and have widened eligibility to cover organisations with between 10 and 250 employees.
Mr. Simon: The UK Commission for Employment and Skills, which started work in April, is working to ensure thatthrough its annual skills assessment and regular skills projectionswe continue to improve the information available to Government and employers about future skills needs.
19. Mr. Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will hold discussions with university authorities on the provision of toilet facilities in universities. 
Mr. Lammy: We have no plans for any specific discussions with university authorities on this subject. Universities are independent and autonomous bodies and how they choose to designate their facilities is a matter for them.
20. Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills if he will review the funding available to students working towards an equivalent or lower qualification. 
Mr. Lammy: Student support is generally targeted at first time entrants to higher education because the Government believe it is right to give priority for public funding to those without an HE qualification. Our policy on equivalent level qualification is consistent with this view. But it provides extra support for institutions teaching existing students, and for subjects of strategic importance; and there are more general opportunities for equivalent and lower level students to study courses which attract institutional funding such as foundation degrees and employer co-funded provision.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what steps his Department is taking to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises to offer apprenticeships. 
These included the recently launched sector growth pilots. These pilots are designed to trial a range of support including wage and training subsidies and while this is not exclusively for small businesses, they will be encouraged to bid for this funding. We are also developing proposals set out in World Class Apprenticeships to support SMEs to form their own group training associations to support the delivery of apprenticeships.
We are committed to revising the current apprenticeship blueprint and to support Sector Skills Councils to develop Apprenticeship frameworks to be more flexible and responsive. This includes work with employers to encourage and enable them to submit their own frameworks for funding, by drawing from a Sector Skills Council 'bank' of qualifications.
We are also working with the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, who recently surveyed SMEs to establish how the new National Apprenticeship Service can meet better the needs of employers. The survey focused on, although was not limited to, reducing the administrative burden on them. Together we will consider how best to take forward the recommendations coming out of the survey.
Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills when he expects his Department to publish research quantifying the economic benefits of the creative industries. 
Mr. Lammy: The commitment in Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy to establish the contribution of innovation to value added in the creative industries is being taken forward jointly by DIUS and DCMS.
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