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Mr. Betts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of young people in (a) each Sheffield constituency and (b) the City of Sheffield have entered higher education in each year since 1998. 
Mr. Lammy [holding answer 25 March 2010]: The numbers of young (under 21) undergraduate entrants, from the Sheffield constituencies of Attercliffe, Brightside, Central, Hallam, Heeley and Hillsborough and Sheffield local authority, are provided in the following table. Figures are provided for the academic years 1998/99 to 2008/09.
|Percentage change in young undergraduate entrants: 1998/99 to 2008/09|
The Department does not collect data on the number of residents in a particular area who are not in higher education, which would be necessary to calculate a
proportion. It is, therefore, not possible to calculate the proportion of young people in each Sheffield constituency and Sheffield local authority who have entered higher education in each year since 1998.
Robert Neill: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the timetable is for regional advisory investment panels to replace regional industrial development boards. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: As stated in the annual report to Parliament under the Industrial Development Act 1982 for year ending 31 March 2009 (HC 668), it is expected that the regional development agencies will appoint new advisory panels to replace the regional industrial development boards by the end of the current financial year.
Bob Russell: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward proposals (a) to introduce more stringent regulation of the activities of companies offering payday loans and (b) to require companies offering payday loans to charge a rate of interest broadly in line with that levied by the larger banks; and if he will make a statement. 
Kevin Brennan: Government are concerned at the impact of high cost credit products on the most vulnerable people in society. A diverse and innovative credit market benefits consumers, but there is a fine line between promoting choice and some of the recent innovations in the payday loan market, such as loans offered via the internet or mobile phone, that appear to make it too easy to access credit anywhere and at any time without thinking through the implications.
We will shortly be implementing the new Consumer Credit Directive into UK law. The directive will give consumers new protections such as a 14-day right to cancel any credit agreement without penalty and require lenders, including payday lenders, to provide clear information to consumers on new loans, and check borrowers' creditworthiness before lending.
The Office of Fair Trading will soon be publishing its new Irresponsible Lending Guidance covering the marketing and selling of credit products. The guidance will ensure that that lenders do not irresponsibly promote credit and will make clear the standards expected of them at all stages of the lending process. Government are determined to tackle irresponsible lenders, and those who are unable or unwilling to follow the guidance face being stripped of their credit licences.
The Office of Fair Trading is also reviewing the high cost credit area, including analysis on the impact of interest rate caps, and they are due to publish their findings and recommendations shortly. We will not hesitate to act if the review finds that further action is necessary to protect consumers.
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills when the Secretary of State plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 1 February 2010 on Joshua Carroll, transferred from the Department for International Development. 
Grant Shapps: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills how many loans have been provided under his Department's Automotive Assistance Programme in each constituency; and how much has been loaned in total under the scheme in each constituency. 
Ian Lucas: The Automotive Assistance programme (AAP) was set up to provide loan guarantees, and in exceptional cases, loans. On 18 September 2009, the Department announced the offer of a £10 million loan to Tata Motors European Technical Centre to support £25 million of investment in the Coventry area. However, the company was subsequently successful in accessing financial support elsewhere.
On 18 March 2010, we announced the Government's willingness to provide £360 million in loan guarantees under the AAP towards six projects at Ford's research and development centre at Dunton in Essex and its manufacturing plants in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales, supporting a proposed loan from the European Investment Bank.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 March 2010, Official Report, column 396W, on National Investment Corporation, which external advisers have been used; and how much has been paid to each such adviser. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding (a) his Department and (b) each regional development agency is providing to support Regional European Networks in 2009-10. 
All the English Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have some form of regional representation in Brussels and the RDAs contribute to and participate in this to varying degrees. This representation has supported each region in securing significant investment from a range of European funding streams; influencing legislation in order to ensure a competitive business environment; identifying economic opportunities for the region; and building key relationships to support these actions. The RDAs believe that it is important to continue to build on these activities in order to support the delivery of regional strategies, aid economic recovery and ensure the future growth of the English regions.
|Title||Cost £000 (RDA financial contribution only 2008-09)|
|(1) Inclusive of VAT.|
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the Government plans to increase expenditure in the public science base at least in line with the trend growth rate of the economy through the period to 2014 referred to in the Ten-Year Science and Innovation Investment Framework. 
Mr. Lammy: This Government remain committed to sustained investment in science and research, as set out in the 10-Year Science and Innovation Investment Framework and to the ring fence around the Science and Research Budget.
Lorely Burt: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of high street banks on the cost of borrowing for small businesses. 
Ms Rosie Winterton:
The Department continues to collect SME lending data from the four main banking groups (Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC, RBS) on a monthly basis. The headline messages from the bank data returns-including cost of finance-are discussed at the Small Business Finance Forum, which meets quarterly, is chaired
by my noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Small Business and attended by representatives from the high street banks as well as key small business representative bodies.
The Department's data show that generally, the cost of finance remains lower than in 2007 due to falls in the base rate, despite increases in bank margins. Fixed rate finance remains lower than in 2007 and 2008, and margins on variable rate finance in October 2009 remain at comparable levels to previous months.
Jenny Willott: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the banking industry to promote awareness of and lending to community interest companies; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Lucas: I have had no such discussions. I have however met recently with the Regulator of Community Interest Companies who talks to banks and other finance providers to raise awareness of community interest companies. She also provides guidance on her website for potential funders of community interest companies.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the total cost has been of the independent reviews of the Student Loans Company conducted by (a) Professor Sir Deian Hopkin and (b) PricewaterhouseCoopers. 
Mr. Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) average time taken to answer a call, (b) average waiting time for a member of the public during a call, (c) percentage of calls dropped or not answered and (d) average length of a call was in call centres run by the Student Loans Company in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Lammy: The following information has been provided by the Student Loans Company (SLC) and relates to all inbound traffic to SLC's centres in Darlington, Glasgow and Wales, relating to calls from all customers about applications for loans, grants and other products administered on behalf of England, Wales and Northern Ireland and about repayment of loans by customers from all domiciles.
(a) The average time taken to answer a call (including interactive voice responses) and (b) the average waiting time for a member of the public during a call to the Student Loans Company in the latest period for which figures are available is set out in table 1.
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