Higher Education: Hartlepool and Hendon

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of students in Hartlepool constituency who have commenced tuition on a course costing £9,000 per annum in September 2012; and if he will make a statement. [120817]

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of the number of students from Hendon constituency who have commenced tuition on a course costing £9,000 per annum in September 2012. [120932]

Mr Willetts: Information on the fees charged to entrants to higher education courses will be collected over the course of this academic year. Statistics on fee levels will be available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency from January 2014. No eligible student has to pay for their tuition up front. Loans of up to £9,000 are available for full-time and full-time distance learning students to meet the full cost of tuition charges at publicly-funded institutions.

Insolvency

Mr Marcus Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to investigate (a) the relationship between invoice finance providers, banks and insolvency practitioners and (b) the treatment of small and medium-sized enterprises by such bodies. [121117]

Michael Fallon: The Government are aware of the concerns that have been raised and we are currently looking into them in more detail. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, HM Treasury and the Insolvency Service are all engaged, and we are in contact with the relevant industry bodies.

Lighters: Safety

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress his Department has made in implementing his direction of the Secretary of State under regulation 35(2) of the

18 Sep 2012 : Column 632W

General Product Safety Regulations 2005, as reaffirmed in May this year, with regard to the safety of lighters in the last 12 months. [121363]

Michael Fallon: The annual renewal of the direction serves to remind trading standards services of the ban on novelty lighters and the placing of only child resistant lighters onto the UK market. We do not require officers to report their activities to the Department. However, a quick e-mail round to officers found that lighters are one of the products routinely stopped and examined at ports of entry and also examined in various market surveillance activities. If non-compliant lighters are found appropriate action is taken.

London Metropolitan University

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 10 September 2012, Official Report, column 106W on London Metropolitan university, what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department had with (i) Ministers and officials in the Home Department, (ii) officials from the UK Border Agency and (iii) the vice-chancellor of London Metropolitan university since 28 August 2012 to discuss the withdrawal of highly trusted sponsor status of London Metropolitan university. [120982]

Mr Willetts: Both Ministers and officials have had discussions with Ministers and officials in the Home Office, officials from the UKBA and representatives of London Metropolitan university on issues related to the withdrawal of LMU's highly trusted status, including via the taskforce that I established shortly after the decision was announced.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2012, Official Report, column 496W on London Metropolitan university, whether he has met the Higher Education Funding Council for England to discuss the financial implications of losing highly trusted status; and if he will make a statement. [120983]

Mr Willetts: I meet regularly with officials of the Higher Education Funding Council for England to discuss a wide range of issues including the implications for London Metropolitan university of losing its highly trusted status. Dates of meetings between BIS Ministers' and external organisations are recorded on the BIS website as part of the Department's policy of transparency at

http://www.bis.gov.uk/transparency/staff

And I refer the right hon. Member to my answer to PQ 120982 answered today.

Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent contribution his Department and its non-departmental public bodies and agencies have made to implementation of the 2005 Manchester declaration. [115127]

18 Sep 2012 : Column 633W

Jo Swinson: The Department, its agencies and non departmental public bodies support the Government's commitment—in line with the 2005 Manchester declaration—to use digital technologies to transform the quality of public service, improving transparency; ensuring value for money and to support economic growth.

The Manchester declaration has now been replaced by the Malmo declaration on which the Cabinet Office lead.

Manufacturing Advisory Service

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses have used the services provided by the Manufacturing Advisory Service since its launch; how many firms used each service provided by the scheme; and how many firms made initial inquiries to the service but did not go on to use it. [121487]

Michael Fallon: Since its launch on 3 January 2012, just under 7,500 businesses have contacted the new national Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS). Of these:

Around 5,200 have received a free Manufacturing Review to identify ways to improve productivity and grow

Over 1,500 have been offered a grant towards the cost of implementing productivity and other improvements in their businesses

Just under 800 have attended best practice or training workshops.

Around 1,500 businesses have contacted MAS but have not yet had a Manufacturing Review or attended a MAS workshop. In some cases, this will be because MAS will have been able to help the business by providing immediate advice on manufacturing queries such as sourcing UK suppliers or for non-manufacturing queries referring them to other sources of expertise such as UKTI for support on exporting. In other cases, the businesses will be in the process of arranging a manufacturing review or attending a suitable MAS best practice visit or workshop.

New Businesses: Young People

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many delivery partners have received formal offers under the start-up loans scheme. [121346]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 17 September 2012]: Eight offer letters have been issued, after being approved by the Start-Up Loans company's delivery panel. These seven include one partner who gives the programme national coverage and six who work in specific localities. All eight provide a full service from access to the youth market, through pre-application support, making loans and providing mentors. The first loans have now been made and there have been over one thousand application inquiries through the website and Facebook.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses are using premises under the start up spaces scheme; and what the total number of premises currently available is under the scheme. [121347]

18 Sep 2012 : Column 634W

Michael Fallon [holding answer 17 September 2012]:On 31 May 2012 Government invited bids from potential providers to manage 24 vacant Government spaces in England and Scotland. The procurement has now closed and officials are working with bidders, Government Departments and their landlords to process bids. It is not possible to provide detailed information as the work is commercially sensitive.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department used the Olympic route network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [121009]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn. This will include use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic route networks.

Overseas Students: EU Nationals

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the total cost to the Government was of EU citizens from other member states studying at UK higher education institutions in each of the last five years. [121311]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 September 2012]: The costs given in this reply relate to EU students studying in England only, and are broken down by (1) the level of recurrent grant for teaching provided by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and (2) the amount of tuition fee loans paid to EU students studying in England.

Funding for teaching

The HEFCE recurrent grant for teaching, which funds higher education studied in higher education institutions and further education colleges and some postgraduate research courses, is shown in the following table. It is not possible to provide a precise breakdown of cost by domicile, but if funding was distributed proportionally across domicile groups according to the numbers of full-time equivalent student numbers, an estimate of the teaching grant cost of EU citizens would be as shown in the following table. The information is only available in this format for the three years shown in the table.

 2008-092009-102010-11

HEFCE recurrent grant for teaching (£m, financial years)

4,920

5,076

5,107

Percentage of HEFCE-fundable FTEs from the EU (excluding the UK)

6.4

6.7

7.0

Estimate of HEFCE recurrent grant for EU students (£ million)

310

340

360

18 Sep 2012 : Column 635W

Note: EU students are reflected by the state of domicile rather than citizenship. Sources: Department for Business and Innovation and Skills (and predecessors), ‘Grant Letters’ to HEFCE and Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data, via HEFCE

Student support

Under EC law, EU students are eligible to the same access to education as those from the member state. EU nationals have been eligible to apply for tuition fee loans since their introduction in academic year 2006-07. EU nationals are generally eligible for tuition fee support only, provided that they have been ordinarily resident in the European economic area (EEA) or Switzerland for the three years prior to the first day of the first academic year of their course. The following table shows the loan outlay each academic year, which will be repaid when the borrower's income is above the appropriate repayment threshold.

Tuition fee loans to EU students studying in England
Academic yearSum borrowed (£ million)

2006/07

23.7

2007/08

44.5

2008/09

62.8

2009/10

76.4

2010/11

88.5

Source: Student Loans Company

Overseas Trade

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with which 10 countries UK trade has increased the most in (a) percentage and (b) absolute terms in the last year. [119915]

Michael Fallon: The following tables show the largest increases in exports, imports and bilateral trade (exports + imports) in absolute value and percentage terms for goods and services separately.

It is often the case that the largest percentage increases are with the smallest trading partners because of the small value of trade with these countries. In order to not distort the percentage increase data in this way the tables only consider the UK's 100 largest trade partners in each category for 2011 and display the top 10 from those selected countries.

A full list of trade values covering over 200 countries can be found in the ONS Balance of Payments publication table 9.13 (Services) and on the HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics website (Goods):

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/

Percentage increases for services have been calculated on rounded values.

Bilateral trade in goods: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

Germany

8,516

12

Norway

5,074

23

France

4,487

11

Belgium

4,328

14

18 Sep 2012 : Column 636W

Netherlands

3,987

8

China

3,475

10

Russia

3,423

40

Qatar

2,658

82

Denmark

2,251

33

India

1,880

20

   

By % increase

  

Botswana

1,861

326

Kazakhstan

547

124

Equatorial Guinea

159

120

Benin

233

113

Namibia

250

108

Algeria

1,017

96

Qatar

2,658

82

Tanzania

106

76

Yemen

84

71

Nigeria

1,478

65

Bilateral trade in services: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

Japan

1,386

17

USA

1,235

2

France

1,146

6

Luxembourg

733

19

Russia

630

23

Sweden

610

13

Hong Kong

601

22

Ireland

598

5

Netherlands

595

4

China

583

15

   

By % increase

  

Equatorial Guinea

63

89

Lithuania

145

67

Serbia and Montenegro

77

66

Slovakia

204

49

Colombia

132

43

Gibraltar

168

38

Uganda

35

35

Ghana

102

31

Iraq

176

28

Israel

310

27

UK exports of goods: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

Germany

4,622

16

France

2,979

15

Belgium

2,512

19

Netherlands

1,791

9

United States

1,595

4

China

1,548

21

India

1,458

37

Russia

1,330

39

Italy

1,128

13

18 Sep 2012 : Column 637W

Australia

1,004

32

   

By % increase

  

US Virgin Islands

78

1313

Togo

83

424

Kazakhstan

293

124

Benin

233

113

Tanzania

101

86

Iceland

106

84

Afghanistan

150

77

Ethiopia

62

77

Algeria

228

66

Dutch Antilles

29

60

UK exports of services: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

USA

911

2

France

869

10

Ireland

773

9

Russia

595

35

China

529

20

India

503

24

Germany

486

5

Luxembourg

415

18

Netherlands

373

4

Spain

360

7

   

By % increase

  

Ethiopia

64

152

Equatorial Guinea

61

87

Lithuania

84

86

Gibraltar

235

82

Slovakia

213

74

Serbia and Montenegro

48

72

Senegal

40

58

Colombia

132

53

Mozambique

38

45

Barbados

38

38

UK imports of goods: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

Norway

4,786

25

Germany

3,894

9

Qatar

2,522

112

Netherlands

2,196

8

Russia

2,093

41

Denmark

1,981

49

China

1,928

7

Botswana

1,856

331

Belgium

1,816

11

France

1,508

7

   

By % increase

  

Equatorial Guinea

210

1113

Azerbaijan

101

388

18 Sep 2012 : Column 638W

Botswana

1,856

331

Angola

237

298

Yemen

103

240

Nigeria

1,322

145

Papua New Guinea

72

127

Kazakhstan

254

124

Zimbabwe

31

116

Qatar

2,522

112

UK imports of services: (100 largest trading partners only)
 Increase in value (£ million)% increase

By value

  

Japan

1,067

29

Canada

331

22

USA

324

2

Luxembourg

318

21

Sweden

303

18

Singapore

295

16

Hong Kong

284

27

France

277

3

Netherlands

222

6

Italy

212

5

   

By % increase

  

Bahamas

77

285

Costa Rica

47

188

Iceland

84

156

Andorra

33

127

Trinidad and Tobago

28

93

Cayman Islands

31

76

Saint Lucia

26

72

Isle of Man

23

61

Estonia

18

60

Serbia and Montenegro

29

59

Sources: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics, ONS Balance of Payments—Pink Book

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the value was of (a) exports and (b) imports between the UK and (i) Brazil, (ii) India, (iii) China, (iv) Turkey, (v) Germany, (vi) Belgium, (vii) Ireland and (viii) the Russian Federation in each of the last three years. [121530]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade figures are compiled by Her Majesty's Revenue and Custom (HMRC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and published in the “ONS Balance of Payments” publication. The following tables show UK exports and imports of goods and services for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

£ billion
 200920102011

(a) UK Exports to:

   

Brazil

2.5

3.1

3.7

India

4.7

6.2

8.3

18 Sep 2012 : Column 639W

China

7.6

10.3

12.5

Turkey

3.3

4.4

5.2

Germany

35.9

38.8

43.9

Belgium

14.2

16.3

19.0

Ireland

24.5

25.7

27.4

Russia

4.3

5.3

7.3

£ billion
 200920102011

(b) UK Imports from:

   

Brazil

2.9

3.6

3.1

India

6.6

8.3

8.5

China

25.8

31.8

32.8

Turkey

6.0

7.0

7.0

Germany

48.8

55.8

59.6

Belgium

17.5

19.5

21.5

Ireland

16.6

17.3

17.3

Russia

5.9

6.3

8.5

Source: ONS UK Balance of Payments

Parking

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of levels of competition in the car park providers' industry; [121049]

(2) what steps he is taking to prevent monopolistic behaviour by car park providers at airports, railways and hospitals. [121050]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 17 September 2012]: As the UK's independent competition authorities, it is for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), or an appropriate sector regulator, to assess any cases of possible anti-competitive behaviour.

I understand that the OFT conducted an infrastructure ownership and control stocktake in 2010, which can be viewed at:

http://www.oft.gov.uk/OFTwork/markets-work/othermarketswork/infrastructure-ownership/

This covers car parks and also refers to work in this area by the Civil Aviation Authority and Office of Rail Regulation.

Postal Services

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the viability of the mutualisation of Post Office Ltd. [120542]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 11 September 2012]: As the Government made clear in its response to the public consultation on possible options for the mutualisation of Post Office Ltd, before it can be mutualised, the Post Office must be on a secure financial footing. Supported by £1.34 billion of Government funding, Post Office Ltd is making progress towards financial sustainability. 2011/12 saw revenues increase for the first time since 2005/06, and today the network is at its most stable for over a quarter of a century.

18 Sep 2012 : Column 640W

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the name is of each company with which his Department has a contract; what the monetary value of each such contract is; and what is provided to his Department under the terms of the contract. [120780]

Jo Swinson: Full details of all contracts held by the Department can be provided only at a disproportionate cost. However details of all contracts awarded greater than £10,000 are published on the contracts Finder website:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1086320080&r.i=1086320014&r.I1= 1073861169&r.I2=1086363734&r.I3=1086319968&r.s= sc&r.t=RESOURCES&type=RESOURCES

In addition all payments to suppliers irrespective of value are published as part of the Department's transparency commitment on the BIS website:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/transparency

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his Department's policy is on taking into account when assessing tenders submitted for departmental contracts the (a) apprenticeship schemes, (b) policies on employment of paid interns and (c) policies of payment of at least the living wage of each bidding company. [120782]

Jo Swinson: RCUK Shared Services Centre Ltd has taken over the provision of procurement services on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) from 1 August 2012. The BIS procurement policy does not include provision in relation to points (a), (b) and (c) above.

This does not mean that these factors have not been evaluated within assessment offenders, merely that they are not specifically highlighted within that policy document.

If the commissioning Department considered these factors to be pertinent to a particular requirement then they would have been included within both the specification and the tender evaluation in a transparent manner clearly identifying the weighting to be applied as part of the overall assessment.

Regional Growth Fund

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many jobs have been created since the launch of the regional growth fund in (a) the UK, (b) the West Midlands and (c) Birmingham; and what the average financial cost was of each job created. [121073]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 14 September 2012]: Bidders to rounds 1 and 2 of regional growth fund (RGF) anticipate creating or safeguarding 330,000 gross jobs in England over the period 2011 to 2021. Bidders in the west midlands anticipated 69,100 jobs when they requested £232.5 million over 31 bids, and within that figure, for Birmingham it was 20,221 jobs (£119 million over seven bids). The gross cost per job on average across England is £4,200: for the west midlands, it is £3,365 and of that figure, for Birmingham £5,886.

18 Sep 2012 : Column 641W

RGF awards are conditional on the delivery of monitored jobs and private sector investment. Based on the above gross jobs figure, the delivery of approximately 110,000 jobs is monitored directly: 220,000 are indirect supply chain jobs that are derived from the amount of private sector investment in the economy.

Nationwide, jobs have already been created or safeguarded due to private investment and projects that start, and so create jobs, before they make their first RGF claim; in the west midlands, over 1,400 jobs have been created in this way, including at JLR.

Monitoring shows that 10,246 direct jobs have been created to date for England, from projects and programmes. The relevant projects and programmes in this region are at an early stage: monitoring via the claims they have made shows that 122 jobs have been confirmed in the west midlands and none in Birmingham yet, although the Birmingham Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative is committed to create 5,000 jobs over its lifetime and their award process is under way.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2012, Official Report, column 404W, on the regional growth fund, which key performance metrics regional growth fund awards are monitored against on a quarterly basis; and how many winning bidders under (a) round 1, (b) round 2 and (c) round 3 of the regional growth fund have failed to meet required standards under those metrics. [121348]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 17 September 2012]:regional growth fund (RGF) project grants are triggered by the achievement of a number of different outputs, tailored according to the details of the project. These include jobs created or safeguarded, leveraged investment, infrastructure created, R&D funds invested or training places.

RGF project payments are made after the applicant has carried out the contracted activity and submits evidence of these outputs: this then triggers a payment claim. Of the 127 cases in rounds 1 and 2 where the final grant offer letter has been accepted and thus a legal contract exists between the Government and the applicant, 80 are due to have made at least one claim with accompanying evidence. Of these, 55 have claimed on schedule, six are ahead of schedule, and 19 are behind schedule. The reasons for those behind schedule vary, including unexpected delays to other investments and economic activity not reaching the anticipated levels. In such circumstances, the local programme delivery teams work with the company to address problems and bring the grant back on track, or examine whether the changes to the grant size or conditions are needed for the project to succeed. No bids have yet been approved for round 3 as we are currently finalising appraisals and will announce successful bidders next month.

Regional Growth Fund: North East

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much and what proportion of funding awarded through the regional growth fund has reached front-line businesses in the North East. [121490]

18 Sep 2012 : Column 642W

Michael Fallon: £160 million has been awarded to projects in the North East from the first two regional growth fund (RGF) bidding rounds. These offers equate to 76 awards to individual front line businesses and two infrastructure and business premises projects in Newcastle. Of these, awards have been finalised for 44 projects worth £58 million; terms have been agreed for a further 20 projects worth an additional £63 million. Seven projects worth £28 million have withdrawn from the process before a final offer was made to them. Seven awards worth a total £11 million have not yet agreed terms. Officials are working closely with these bidders and have informed them if they are unable to progress their offers by the end of September 2012 their RGF allocation will be withdrawn.

Beneficiaries draw down RGF funding in arrears of private sector investment as per their requirements. At 14 September 2012, 19 companies from the North East who have submitted their claims have had £20.5 million paid to them.

I expect to announce third round allocations next month.

Regional Growth Fund: Warwickshire

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding has been awarded to businesses in Warwickshire through the regional growth fund to date. [121448]

Michael Fallon: In Warwickshire, regional growth fund conditional allocations of £3,035,000 have been made from the first two rounds of bidding. We expect to announce third round allocations next month.

Research: Finance

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether it is still the Government's policy to increase UK investment in research and development to 2.5% of GDP. [121365]

Mr Willetts: The Government does not have a target for UK investment in research and development as a proportion of GDP.

Self-employed

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of people (a) working in the construction industry and (b) overall were self-employed in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [121518]

Michael Fallon: The proportion of self-employed jobs in the construction contracting industry (Section F, SIC 2007) and the whole economy over the last five years is given in Table 1 as follows:

Table 1: Proportion of self-employed jobs in construction contracting and whole economy
Percentage
 20082009201020112012

Construction contracting

40.5

38.7

41.2

42.5

43.7

18 Sep 2012 : Column 643W

Whole economy

13.0

13.2

13.8

13.9

14.4

Notes: 1. Figures as at June of each year. 2. There are two ways of looking at employment: the number of people with jobs (measured by the Labour Force Survey) or the number of jobs (measured by the Workforce Jobs Series). These two concepts are not the same as one person can have more than one job and some jobs may be shared by more than one person. Source: BIS estimates based on the latest ONS Workforce Jobs by Industry series.

The figures above are based on the Workforce Jobs Series. These series are the preferred source of statistics on employment by industry as they are sourced from employer surveys (employers are more likely to classify the industry of a business correctly). By contrast, the Labour Force Survey is self-reported.

Shareholders: Voting Behaviour

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of institutional investors publicly disclosing (a) summary statistics about their exercise of voting rights, (b) partial details of votes cast, (c) full details of all votes cast and (d) explanations for significant voting decisions in the latest period for which figures are available. [120963]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 14 September 2012]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not calculated its own estimates of institutional investor voting disclosure, but takes a close interest in the range of research studies produced by a number of organisations.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what research his Department (a) has undertaken and (b) plans to undertake on the level and quality of disclosure of voting records provided by institutional investors; and when he expects any such research to be completed. [120964]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 14 September 2012]: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has not undertaken its own research of this kind. However, research published by various organisations including the Investment Management Association and the TUC reflects that, while the level and quality of disclosure by fund managers varies, disclosure on both measures has generally increased in the last five years. BIS continues to monitor these trends closely.

Spacecraft

Simon Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with the European Space Agency on the viability of the Skylon Spaceplane; and if he will make a statement. [121451]

Mr Willetts: Neither I nor UK Space Agency officials have held discussions with the European Space Agency

18 Sep 2012 : Column 644W

recently. Officials continue to work with the company to establish a business case and the technical viability of the Skylon Spaceplane.

Simon Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what preparations his Department is making on a regulatory framework for reusable spaceplanes; and if he will make a statement. [121531]

Mr Willetts: I announced at Farnborough International in July that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport would undertake a joint review of the regulatory framework needed for reusable space planes. This review is ongoing.

Students: Loans

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what dates (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) senior officials in his Department met representatives of (i) Santander, (ii) Barclays, (iii) Lloyds Bank, (iv) other banks and (v) the British Bankers Association to discuss banks offering student loans since 1 January 2011; and if he will make a statement. [121298]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 September 2012]: I have attended a number of events with banking groups relating to our higher education reforms. A list of Ministers' meetings can be found on the BIS website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/transparency/staff

Officials from Student Finance met Santander on 13 June 2011, Citibank on 24 November 2011 and Barclays Bank in February 2012 and July 2012. In addition, officials had meetings with Link Financial on 7 September 2011, HSBC in September 2011 and the Islamic Bank of Britain on 31 August 2012. Officials also have regular contact with the Administrators of those Mortgage Style Loans that have been sold—Honours Student Loans (for the portfolio owned by Honours Trustee Ltd) and Link Financial (for the portfolio owned by Finance for Higher Education Ltd).

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the proposal not to add value added tax to the cost of a 24+ advanced learner loan in respect of provision offered by an independent learning provider which is listed on the Register of Training Organisations. [121544]

Matthew Hancock: There is no proposal to add VAT to 24+ advanced learning loans or to any other type of student loan.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he has taken to ensure that learners receiving tuition under (a) public, (b) private and (c) third sector providers are able to access 24+ advanced learner loans under the same terms and conditions. [121545]

Matthew Hancock: The terms and conditions of the 24+ advanced learning loans will be the same irrespective of the type of college or training organisation where the learner is accessing training.

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Unemployment: Young People

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to reduce the number of people aged 18-to-24 years of age in Peterborough constituency who are not in employment, education or training; and if he will make a statement. [121457]

Matthew Hancock: In “Building Engagement, Building Futures”, we set out our strategy to increase the proportion of young people participating in education, employment or training and address the challenge of young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

We are expanding the apprenticeships programme and will fund up to 250,000 more apprenticeships over the spending review period compared to the previous Government's plans. We are investing £1.5 billion this year. We have also introduced the Access to Apprenticeships programme for 16 to 24-year-olds that will benefit up to 10,000 vulnerable young people who need extra help to become an apprentice.

In addition, we are helping young people into work through pre-employment training for those on active benefits, work experience opportunities and continuation of the graduate talent pool. The Work programme provides unemployed young people with personalised support and training to help them into sustainable work. The £1 billion youth contract will also provide extra support to unemployed young people in addition to what is already available through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme.

Unfair Dismissal

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what evidence his Department has gathered on the potential direct benefits to business of extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims. [119979]

Jo Swinson: The direct benefits to business of extending the qualifying period for unfair dismissal arise from reduced costs of defending employment tribunal claims. BIS used survey and administrative data to establish a likely reduction in employment tribunal claims, and the unit costs for businesses of defending employment tribunal claims. The Department estimates annual benefits to business in the region of £4.7 million and the detail of this is set out in our impact assessment published on 16 November 2011.

It is too early to assess the full impact of the measure, but the Department has committed to make an initial assessment in 2014.

Vocational Training

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what target timetable his Department has set for successful bidders to receive their allocated funds under the Employer Ownership pilot. [121484]

Michael Fallon: Following the announcement of the first successful bidders on 11 September, bids are now undergoing due diligence and agreement of Grant Offer

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Letters. Letters should be issued from October. We are not in a legally binding relationship with any successful employers at this stage. Once completed, a schedule to the Grant Offer letters will set out the timetable for payments against agreed milestones within each individual project. Payments will generally be on a quarterly basis and will be paid in arrears of spend.

Zimbabwe

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of any business links between (a) Old Mutual PLC and (b) UK companies and the Zimbabwean Mining Development Corporation or its subsidiaries. [120716]

Michael Fallon: I cannot comment on individual UK firms due to the need to respect commercial confidence. The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is a designated entity under EU Regulation 77/ 2009 that imposes, sanctions against certain individuals and entities in Zimbabwe. HM Treasury is responsible for the implementation of financial sanctions against designated entities.

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department (a) is undertaking and (b) plans to undertake any investigation of links between UK FTSE 100 listed firms and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation. [120718]

Michael Fallon: This Department is not undertaking such an investigation. The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is a designated entity under EU Regulation 77/2009 that imposes sanctions against certain individuals and entities in Zimbabwe. HM Treasury is responsible for the implementation of financial sanctions against designated entities.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals against decisions based on reports from ATOS have been registered by residents of (a) Warrington and (b) Warrington North constituency in each of the last two years; and what proportion of such appeals have been successful at tribunal. [121150]

Mr Hoban: The Department only holds information on appeals once they have been heard by HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS). Due to the time it takes for appeals to be submitted to, and heard by, HMCTS, it is likely there are more appeals that have not yet been heard. The number of appeals is therefore likely to change as more up to date information becomes available.

The following table presents the total number of WCA decisions, the number of fit for work decisions and the outcomes of appeals on fit for work decisions made at initial employment and support allowance work capability assessments in the Warrington local

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authority area for claims that started in 2010 and between January and May 2011 (the latest data available), including actions on these claims up to May 2012. Constituency level data are not available.

Outcomes of appeals on fit for work decisions made at initial ESA WCAs in the Warrington local authority area for claims starting in 2010 and between January and May 2011
 Claim start date
 January to December 2010January to May 2011

Total WCA decisions

1,340

560

Total FFW Decisions

780

350

   

Volume of appeals on FFW decisions

  

DWP decision upheld

220

70

DWP decision overturned

100

30

Either outcome

320

100

   

Proportion of heard appeals

  

DWP decision upheld (percentage)

68

70

DWP decision overturned (percentage)

32

30

Notes: 1. The information above is taken from administrative data held by the Department for Work and Pensions and assessment data provided by Atos Healthcare. 2. Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. 3. The figures above only cover new claims to ESA and exclude incapacity benefit reassessments to determine eligibility for ESA. On 20 April 2012 the Department published data on the outcomes of IB reassessment claims at regional and local authority level at the following link: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/index.php?page=adhoc_analysis_2012_q2

Child Maintenance

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what new steps he plans to put in place at the Child Maintenance Service to establish whether a non-resident parent's standard of living is consistent with their declared income where there is a dispute between the parents over the non-resident parent's income. [120871]

Steve Webb: The inconsistent lifestyle ground for a variation has proved difficult to administer and ineffective in operation. It places an undue burden on parents who receive child maintenance of providing proof, which they are then generally unable to supply. As such it serves only to raise their hopes then disappoint.

Our new approach is to take advantage of the fact that we will be able to access self-assessment records from HMRC. This will allow us to take account of a paying parent's taxable income from sources such as property, savings and investments within the variations part of the new scheme. Variations are the set of rules that allow us to adjust the calculation of maintenance to take into account special factors such as costs of contact or other income sources. This will provide a more effective route to taking all elements of the paying parent's income into account without placing undue burdens on the receiving parent.

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This does mean that we will assess the paying parent based on his/her income declared to HMRC, and so there is of course always the possibility of fraudulent behaviour by the paying parent. This Government takes seriously anyone who fails to declare their full taxable income to HMRC. The Child Maintenance Service will work with HMRC to ensure that such cases are dealt with appropriately when they come to light through the child maintenance system.

Employment Schemes: Merseyside

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people were employed by Liverpool-based companies under (a) the Welfare to Work programme and (b) the Work Programme in each of the last five years. [121480]

Mr Hoban: The data collected in the last five years about Welfare to Work programmes and the Work Programme do not enable an analysis of how many people were employed by Liverpool based companies.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency and (b) Merseyside have been awarded (i) full-time and (ii) part-time work as a result of a placement secured through the Work Programme. [121481]

Mr Hoban: The Department will publish official statistics on Work Programme job outcomes in autumn 2012.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many companies have taken part in the Welfare to Work programme in Liverpool. [121482]

Mr Hoban: The data collected on Welfare to Work programmes do not enable an analysis of how many companies have taken part in Liverpool.

Housing Benefit

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will rank all English local authorities by the percentage change in local housing allowance claims between April 2010 and April 2012. [120843]

Steve Webb: The question is interpreted as referring to local housing allowance claims.

A breakdown by each local authority in England of the local housing allowance caseload in April 2010 and April 2012 has been placed in the House of Commons Library. Local authorities are ranked by the percentage change over the period.

Jobseeker's Allowance: North West

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many jobseekers in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) the North West have applied and failed to qualify for jobseeker's allowance since May 2010. [121478]

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Mr Hoban: Jobseeker's allowance applications for Liverpool, Walton constituency and the Merseyside area are processed by the Birkenhead Benefit Centre. Information is not available below benefit centre level. From May 2010 to August 2012, 209,258 jobseeker's allowance applications were processed in the Birkenhead Benefit Centre. Of these, 24,293 were refused.

From May 2010 to August 2012, 1,042,362 jobseeker's allowance applications were processed in the North West. Of these 135,183 were refused.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency and (b) Merseyside were transferred from long-term incapacity benefit to jobseeker's allowance in each of the last five years. [121479]

Mr Hoban: The information is not currently available, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Minimum Wage: Young People

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many employers are employing people aged (a) 16 to 17 and (b) 18 to 20 who are on the national minimum wage; [120494]

(2) how many people aged (a) 16 to 17 and (b) 18 to 20 are in receipt of the national minimum wage. [120495]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Low Pay Commission have estimated that in April 2011 the number of 16 to 17-year-olds earning at the national minimum wage of £3.68 was nearly 19,000 (7.2% of all paid workers in this age group). The number of 18 to 20-year-olds earning at the minimum wage of £4.98 in April 2011 was nearly 89,000 (8.0% of all paid workers in this age group).

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of hours worked per week by people aged (a) 16 to 17 and (b) 18 to 20 who are in receipt of the national minimum wage. [120496]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

Based on the most recent data from the 2011 Annual Survey of Household Earnings we estimate that for all 16 to 17-year-olds earning around the national minimum wage of £3.68 the average weekly hours was 15.0 hours (not including overtime). For 18 to 20-year-olds earning around the national minimum wage of £4.98 the average weekly hours was 21.5 hours a week (not including overtime).

The estimates here are based on the 5 pence earnings band that includes the national minimum wage.

Post Office Card Account

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 22 May 2012, Official Report, column 652W, on social security benefits: Post Office card account, what steps he has

18 Sep 2012 : Column 650W

taken to estimate the number of claimants who wish to have universal credit payments paid into a Post Office card account. [121324]

Steve Webb: Discussions about what accounts people can be paid into are ongoing. No estimate has been made of the number of claimants who might wish to have their payments paid into a Post Office card account.

Social Security Benefits

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of benefits he estimates have never worked. [121556]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available from DWP benefit administrative systems. Estimates of people aged 16 to 64 living in households containing no-one who has ever worked are published by the Office for National Statistics in the Working and Workless Households Bulletin (Table J), available from:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lmac/working-and-workless-households/2012/index.html

These estimates do not include people who have never worked but live in the same household as someone who has. Reliable estimates of how many people who have never worked are receiving benefits are not available from the data source used in this publication, the Labour Force Survey, which is known to be subject to significant under-reporting of benefit receipt.

Universal Credit

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the cost of the IT system for universal credit in each sub-category of expenditure. [121398]

Mr Hoban: IT investment costs over SR10 include IT development, associated integration with other systems and infrastructure requirements. These are currently estimated at £638 million over the period.

 £ million

Design and development

441

Software

51

Changes to dependent systems

14

Infrastructure

52

Other

80

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether households will be afforded 13 weeks' protection from rent restrictions under the housing component of universal credit when first making a claim for support with housing costs. [121498]

Steve Webb: No.

Welfare State: Scotland

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he last met the education Minister in the Scottish Government to discuss welfare reform; and what correspondence he has received from the Minister on that matter. [121389]

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Mr Hoban: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), has not met with the Scottish Minister for education to discuss welfare reform.

Following a search of our records we cannot locate any correspondence received from the Minister in relation to welfare reform.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when he last met the Minister for youth employment in the Scottish Government to discuss welfare reform; and what correspondence he has received from the Minister in relation to that matter. [121390]

Mr Hoban: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), has not met with the Scottish Minister for youth employment to discuss welfare reform. Following a search of our records we cannot locate any correspondence received from the Minister in relation to welfare reform.

Work Programme

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect that the reduction in the number of specialist welfare-to-work fraud investigation staff in his Department

18 Sep 2012 : Column 652W

has had on its capacity to monitor Work programme contracts. [121445]

Mr Hoban: The Department treats any allegation of fraud by contractors very seriously. Any fraud is completely unacceptable. Where we identify, or are notified of, allegations of contractor fraud, these cases are investigated thoroughly by DWP's professionally trained and experienced investigators to a standard required to support reference to the police whenever evidence of criminal offences is discovered.

The Department's Internal Investigations team is responsible for investigating allegations of fraud and other serious wrongdoing by DWP staff and contractors (including providers). Increased use of automated tools to support audit trail analysis has improved the efficient identification and appropriate investigation of cases involving the Department's staff (such as misuse of IT facilities), with professionally trained investigators only involved in more serious or criminal cases. This has supported the reduction in investigation staff. There has been no reduction in the capacity to carry out investigations of allegations into allegation of fraud on employment programmes. All allegations of suspected staff or contractor fraud continue to be investigated professionally and thoroughly, and, where appropriate, these are referred to the police.

DWP has a range of mechanisms to monitor the Work programme, including contract performance reviews, compliance and assurance monitoring to minimise fraud and error, payment validation systems, analysis of management information and participant feedback.