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The current number of pre-surplus staff (20 January 2009) is 2,824. The number of pre-surplus staff on maternity leave is 18. The number of staff pre-surplus for at least six months is 34 and there are 21 who have been pre-surplus for more than 12 months.
Mr. Burrowes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what HM Revenue and Customs public service agreement and associated targets are for quantities of (a) heroin, (b) cocaine and (c) crack cocaine seized on entry to the UK in (i) 2008, (ii) 2009 and (iii) 2010. 
Mr. Timms: Public service agreements (PSAs) refer to high level objectives set by Government and shared across Departments, for the current spending review period, 2008-9 to 2010-11. Individual Departments have, for this period, set departmental strategic objectives (DSOs) that will measure their achievement against PSAs and core business objectives. HMRCs DSO3 specifically relates to reducing the amount of illicit imported and exported goods.
Mr. Pickles: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) name, (b) address and (c) size is of each (i) used and (ii) vacant space for each entry on the e-PIMS property database, excluding sensitive information. 
Jenny Willott: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what targets his Department has set for the time taken to process (a) a notification of a tax credit claimants change of circumstances and (b) any subsequent amendment of a tax credit award; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) how long on average it has taken to process a notification of (a) a tax credit claimants change of circumstances and (b) any subsequent amendment of a tax credit award in each year since the schemes introduction; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Timms: Performance outturn for all new claims, renewals and changes of circumstances for 2003-04, 2004-05 and 2005-06 can be found in the Departments autumn performance reports which are available at:
|86 per cent. in five working days||95 per cent. in 30 working days|
The majority of changes of circumstances are notified to the tax credits helpline and are processed at the time of the call. The changes that impact on the 30-day target are usually notified in writing.
The Tax Credit Office now has a separate internal measure that aims to process 80 per cent. of all written notifications in 15 working days and 98 per cent. in 30 calendar days in 2008-09. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is working hard to identify how resources can be most effectively deployed to achieve this aim.
Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times bailiffs have been deployed with respect to the recovery of tax credit overpayments (a) in each year since 2003-04 and (b) in each month in 2008-09 for which information is available; and what the average level of overpayment was. 
Chris Grayling: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions his Department has used the services of a private debt collecting company with respect to the recovery of tax credit overpayments (a) in each year since 2003-04 and (b) in each month in 2008-09 for which information is available; and what the average level of overpayment was. 
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent discussions he has had with (a) sector skills councils and (b) individual employers on the revised Apprenticeship Blueprint, with particular reference to (i) college-based and (ii) work-based programmes. 
Mr. Simon: The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) is leading the development of the revised Apprenticeship Blueprint. The LSC has consulted with Sector Skills Councils (SSCs), Standard Setting Bodies (SSBs) and other employer representatives involved with the Apprenticeship Framework Approval Group to develop the revisions to the Apprenticeships Blueprint. The LSC met SSCs, SSBs and other employer representatives in December 2008 to discuss the revisions and a full public consultation on the revised Blueprint will be launched in February 2009. We expect SSCs, employers, colleges and providers of work-based programmes to respond to the consultation.
Mr. Simon: In the 2006-07 academic year, there were 184,400 apprenticeship starts. The number of apprenticeship starts in 2007-08 was 224,800. This information was published in a statistical first release on 18 December 2008.
There has been a renaissance in apprenticeships, and starts have been increasing, from 65,000 in 1996-97 with 27 per cent. completion, with 2008 completions standing at 64 per cent. Framework completions have increased from 39,000 in 2001-02 to 111,800 in 2006-07 and 112,600 in 2007-08.
My right hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, wrote to the hon. Member on 11 March 2008, Official Report, column 286W, on the subject of how we count apprenticeships. In World-Class Apprenticeships, we announced that we were changing the way we count apprenticeships, moving to counting the number of people starting an apprenticeship in the year (starts) and the percentage who complete an apprenticeship (completion rate). Therefore, information on the total number of apprenticeships in training during the year is not available.
Mr. Vara: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills on how many occasions in the last 12 months Ministers in his Department have used their discretion to rule that a parliamentary question for written answer should be answered because it would be in the public interest to do so, even though to do so would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold of £700. 
Mr. Simon: The information requested is not recorded. As a matter of general principle, we aim to provide as much information as possible when answering written questions and would consider providing an answer, despite it exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold, if it was deemed to be in the public interest.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills which colleges have submitted applications (a) in principle and (b) in detail as part of the Building Colleges for the Future programme; which have yet to receive final approval for their projects; and if he will make a statement. 
Capital funding for further education colleges is administrated by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) and I have asked Mark Haysom, the LSC chief executive, to write to my hon. Friend with the further information requested. A copy of his letter will be placed in the House Library.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of (a) the adequacy of the Learning and Skills Council's capital budget for further education colleges to fund pending capital projects and (b) the effect of spending on such projects on local economies. 
In total, since the programme began under this Government, nearly 700 projects, at 330 colleges have been agreed. Only 42 colleges have not yet benefited from investment. The programme has therefore been a huge success.
It is for this reason that over the next few weeks the LSC will be working closely with colleges that have submitted or are working on bids, to look at the individual current positions before making further funding decisions.
Research by PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2003/04 into the effects of capital investment on educational outcomes found that capital investment appears to have a marked effect in increasing the level of student retention on courses and success. Frontier Economics updated the research in 2007 (Evaluating the impact of capital expenditure in further Education available from the Learning and Skills Council website) and confirmed a link with higher student enrolment.
We know that colleges build strong communities economically and socially. To ensure we maximise the value of our capital investment, all contractors working on college projects are now required to have in place a formal training plan that maximises access to apprenticeships, work-based learning and other training opportunities.
Mr. Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many and what proportion of A level entrants were (a) 19 and (b) over 21 years of age in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Simon: Table 1 shows the number of learners in further education undertaking at least one A level or AS level in each academic year since 2003/04 by age group, the earliest year for which we have comparable information.
Awarding Body data on A level examination entries is analysed by the Department for Children, Schools and Families as part of the School and College Achievement and Attainment Tables publication. However, this work only covers qualifications entered for by 16-18 year olds. Therefore, we do not have information readily available on adults entered for A level examinations.
|Table 1: Learners in further education undertaking at least one A or AS level by age, 2003-04 to 2007-08|
1. Age is based on age as at 31 August (academic age).
2. This information does not include learners studying A/AS Levels in Schools or Higher Education Institutions.
3. Figures may not sum to total due to rounding.
4. If a learner is studying A/AS levels over more than one year, they will be counted in each year for which they are studying.
5. It is not been possible to split out A level learners from those undertaking AS levels.
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