New Businesses: Young People

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many Start Up loans he expects to be made by the end of (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014. [113082]

Mr Prisk: Budget 2012 announced a programme of enterprise loans to help young people set up and grow their own businesses, with funding for a £10 million pilot programme in 2012/13.

The total number of loans awarded will depend on the value of each loan. Rather than set an arbitrary value for every loan Government want the lending decision and the value of loan to be based upon the business case developed by each applicant and approved by an independent and expert panel.

As a guide we anticipate average loan value of about £2,500 across the loan book.

A further £32.5 million has been made available for the funding and administration of loans in 2013/14 and £40 million in 2014/15, subject to the pilot demonstrating that there is demand from young people and capability within the support network to engage and support them. We will be looking to engage commercial partners to further build the lending pot.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what benchmarks have been set for the implementation and operation of Start Up loans. [113083]

Mr Prisk: The Government have not set an exhaustive list of requirements for the implementation and operation of Start Up loans as this is a pilot and the scheme itself is demand led and intended to meet the needs of each individual applicant

However, we have determined that:

all delivery partners for the pilot phase must be operational by end September 2012, to ensure that each has a minimum delivery period of six months;

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for every loan recipient, we expect a further three individuals to benefit from engagement in the scheme, for example, by receiving advice on how to start their business;

loans should be awarded on the basis of the individual's business plan and be made by an independent panel appointed by the delivery partner;

loans must not exceed a repayment period of more than five years;

interest will charged at the rate of RPI +3%;

delivery partners can grant a repayment holiday up to a maximum of 12 months; and

the loan will be treated as a personal liability.

These requirements may be adjusted in the light of the results of the pilot.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which partner organisations are responsible for administering the Start Up Loans scheme; and how many loans each organisation plans to make under the scheme. [113084]

Mr Prisk: 40 organisations responded to the expressions of interest exercise to identify delivery partners for the Start-Up Loans scheme.

The Prince's Trust and the Economics Solutions Group, have been identified as ready to commence delivery, subject to due diligence, and we are working with the remainder to develop their proposition and to ensure we have a full cadre of delivery partners by end September 2012.

There is no set target for the number of loans to be administered by each partner. Loan volume will depend on partner capacity, the applicant and which partner is best placed to support them.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which guidance has been issued to partner organisations responsible for administering the Start Up Loans scheme; and what requirements there are of these organisations. [113085]

Mr Prisk: The Government has not created an exhaustive list of guidance for partner organisations as this is a pilot which aims to test demand and delivery network capability.

However, we have determined that:

all delivery partners must be able to demonstrate competency to provide start-up support, mentoring and loan management and will be required to complete a due diligence process prior to appointment;

delivery partners are required to provide projections of deal flow and funds will be allocated to them on the basis of those projections, ensuring that funds are not allocated to those partners unable to utilise them;

for every loan recipient, a further three individuals are expected to benefit from engagement in the scheme, for example, by receiving advice on how to start their business;

loans should be awarded on the basis of the individual's business plan and be made by an independent panel appointed by the delivery partner;

loans must not exceed a repayment period of more than five years;

interest will be charged at the rate of RPI +3%;

delivery partners can grant a repayment holiday up to a maximum of 12 months;

the loan will be treated as a personal liability; and

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the repaid loan plus interest will be returned to a central fund by the delivery partner to ensure that monies are continuously recycled into further lending.

These requirements may be adjusted in the light of the results of the pilot.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria partner organisations will use in allocating Start Up loans. [113086]

Mr Prisk: The only criterion that will apply to young people seeking support to start a business is that they are aged 18 to 24 and seeking to start their business in England.

All young people joining the scheme will receive support to build a viable business plan. The award of a loan will be subject to an assessment by the delivery partner of the viability of the applicant's business plan and the individual's financial standing.

Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how often the ad hoc Advisory Board on Nuclear Research and Development has met since it was established; what its membership is; from which budget it is funded; what the cost has been of meetings to date; and if he plans to publish minutes of the meetings on his Department's website. [113367]

Mr Willetts: The ad hoc Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board has met three times since it was established earlier this year. The dates for these meetings were as follows:

27 March 2012;

24 April 2012; and

31 May 2012.

The membership of the Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board is detailed in the following list.

The Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board is funded by the Government Office for Science.

The cost of the three meetings to date is £586.40. This includes room bookings, refreshments and lunch for a visiting French delegation.

At present, there is no web presence for the Advisory Board. However, the board has agreed that a summary of minutes from meetings will be made available to anyone upon request.

Membership Nuclear Research and Development Advisory Board

Sir John Beddington: Government Chief Scientific Advisor, GO-Science

Professor David MacKay: Chief Scientific Adviser, DECC

Dr Stephen de Souza: Head of Nuclear and Radioactive Waste

Professor John Perkins: Chief Scientific Adviser, BIS

Dr Graeme Reid: Head of Research Funding Unit, BIS

Mr George Beveridge: Deputy Managing Director, Sellafield Ltd

Professor Richard Clegg: Global Nuclear Director, Lloyds Register

Professor Steve Cowley: Chief Executive Officer, UK Atomic Energy Authority

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Mr Stuart Crooks: Chief Technology Officer, Nuclear Generation, EDF

Professor Robin Grimes: Director, Imperial College Centre for Nuclear Engineering

Mr Norman Harrison: Director, Strategic Development, Babcock International

Professor Paul Howarth: Managing Director, National Nuclear Laboratory

Dame Sue Ion: Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Professor Francis Livens: Radiochemistry, University of Manchester

Mrs Jean Llewellyn OBE: Chief Executive, National Skills Academy Nuclear

Professor Rebecca Lunn: Engineering Geosciences, University of Strathclyde

Dr Graeme Nicholson: Director, Science and Technology, AWE

Mr Keith Parker: Chief Executive, Nuclear Industry Association

Professor Richard Parker: Director of Research and Technology, Rolls-Royce

Professor Nawal Prinja: Technical Director, AMEC Nuclear

Professor Andrew Sherry: Director, Dalton Nuclear Institute, University of Manchester

Dr Adrian Simper: Strategy Director, Nuclear Decommissioning Agency

Dr Mike Weightman: HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations.

Origin Marking: EU Action

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what (a) discussions and (b) meetings officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in other member states in the Council of the European Union regarding the European Commission Proposal on Regulation for the indication of the country of origin on certain products imported from third countries; [113151]

(2) what organisations he has met to discuss the European Commission Proposal on Regulation for the indication of the country of origin on certain products imported from third countries; [113152]

(3) what (a) discussions and (b) meetings officials in his Department have had with officials of the European Commission regarding the European Commission Proposal on Regulation for the indication of the country of origin on certain products imported from third countries; [113153]

(4) what his policy is on the European Commission Proposal on Regulation for the indication of the country of origin on certain products imported from third countries. [113154]

Norman Lamb: The coalition Government have strong reservations about the European Commission Proposal on Regulation for the indication of the country of origin on certain products imported from third countries. We are not satisfied of the need for such a mandatory system, its cost to business and Government and the absence of any objective criteria for determining product scope. The UK supports a voluntary labelling approach. We welcome the practice of many producers and retailers in providing a country of origin mark on their products.

Such positive country of origin marking takes place because business believes it is the right thing to do for themselves and their customers. It does not involve a regulatory or cost burden imposed by Government.

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After a number of discussions in the Commercial Questions Council Working Group during 2011, especially during the first half of the year, the proposal was last discussed in January this year. As a result we currently await a discussion paper from the European Commission on the possibility of a voluntary origin marking regime.

Coalition Ministers have had no meetings on this issue. Nor have BIS officials met recently with Commission officials outside of the Council Working Group discussions.

Postage Stamps

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what recent discussions his Department has had with the Post Office on the continued availability at post office counters of country-definitive and pictorial stamps; [113815]

(2) if he will make it his policy to ensure that post offices at all times carry and make available country-definitive and pictorial stamps; [113816]

(3) what proportion of post office network counter and business sheet-definitive stamp sales is comprised of sales of country and pictorial-definitives, broken down by nation and territory. [113817]

Norman Lamb: The availability of country-definitive and pictorial stamps at post offices is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd and Royal Mail and I have had no discussions with them about this. I have asked Paula Vennells, the chief executive of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Railways: Radlett

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 326W, on railways: Radlett, what the nature was of the correspondence received from Community Connect Ltd; and what response his Department gave to this correspondence. [113290]

Mr Prisk: In November 2011, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), received correspondence about the St Albans Strategic Railfreight Interchange from Community Connect Ltd, on behalf of their client Helioslough.

Community Connect Ltd sent an executive summary and impact report to support a planning proposal for a Strategic Railfreight Interchange in Radlett. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, responded stating that the Government believe that a key mechanism to unblocking growth is through strategic infrastructure developments. He confirmed that the Government’s ambition was to see growth taking place in line with local wishes and priorities wherever possible and that it would not be appropriate to accept a meeting on that occasion.

Research

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, column 700W, on research, from whom the EU Research and Development scoreboard receives its UK data. [113835]

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Mr Willetts: The UK data are provided by Company Reporting Bespoke Databases Ltd, Edinburgh.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2012, Official Report, column 700W, on research, whether any assessment has been made of the benefits to the economy of his Department's research and development scoreboard. [113836]

Mr Willetts: No assessment has been made. The scoreboard is not thought to have had a direct impact on the economy. It would be difficult to identify investment decisions primarily made as a result of the scoreboard by the top 1,000 research and development performing UK companies, or to quantify the wider benefits of the scoreboard to the economy.

Royal Mail: Scotland

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has had discussions with the Scottish Government on the future of the Royal Mail in the event of Scottish independence. [113093]

Norman Lamb: I have not had any discussions with the Scottish Government on the future of Royal Mail in the event of Scottish independence.

The Government's position is clear: Scotland is stronger as part of the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it. The Government are not making plans for independence as we are confident that people in Scotland will continue to support the United Kingdom in any referendum.

Sovereignty: Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what correspondence (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with the Scottish Government on the potential consequences of Scotland leaving the UK; and if he will place in the Library a copy of any such correspondence. [112628]

Norman Lamb: There has been no correspondence between Ministers or officials in this Department and the Scottish Government on the consequences of Scotland leaving the UK.

The Government's position is clear: Scotland is stronger as part of the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it.

The Government are not making plans for independence as we are confident that people in Scotland will continue to support the United Kingdom in any referendum.

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with Scottish Government Ministers or officials on the potential consequences of Scotland leaving the UK. [112638]

Norman Lamb: BIS have had no formal discussions with the Scottish Government.

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The Government's position is clear: Scotland is stronger as part of the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it.

The Government are not making plans for independence as we are confident that people in Scotland will continue to support the United Kingdom in any referendum.

Space Technology: Finance

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what funding he has allocated to the National Space Technology Programme in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and what the projected funding is in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14. [113837]

Mr Willetts: The National Space Technology Programme is a new UK Space Agency programme announced in the 2011 Budget to promote growth in the UK space sector. £10 million was allocated and will have been fully awarded in competition to industry by the end of 2012-13. Aided by private sector investment and support from other Government organisations, the total programme volume is expected to reach £27 million.

Students: Finance

Steve Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on the eligibility of students undertaking courses at private institutions for student support. [113537]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) regularly receives correspondence relating to personal and course eligibility. We do not keep a central register.

In order to access student support a student must satisfy the personal eligibility criteria and be undertaking or attending a designated course in accordance with the relevant Education (Student Support) Regulations.

Eligible higher education courses provided by publicly funded institutions in the UK are automatically designated under the Education (Student Support) Regulations.

Eligible higher education courses provided by alternative or private providers are designated for the purposes of student support on a course by course basis by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable).

Students: Loans

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reason higher national certificate qualifications are treated as part-time study by the Student Loans Company; and if he will reconsider the treatment of such qualifications. [112943]

Mr Willetts: The student support regulations allow courses leading to a higher national certificate (HNC) to be designated as either part-time or full-time courses. The Student Loans Company will then treat these courses accordingly for the purposes of student support.

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It is for higher education institutions (HEIs) to decide whether they want to deliver HNC qualifications as either part-time courses, full-time courses, or both.

Students: Work Experience

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students undertook a year in industry as part of a sandwich university course in the last academic year for which figures are available. [112570]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 18 June 2012]: Statistics collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that, in the academic year 2010/11, 19,245 students enrolled on a sandwich first degree course at a UK higher education institution were on an industrial placement for the whole academic year.

Vocational Training

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which registered training organisations are operating in (a) the west midlands, (b) Stoke-on-Trent local authority and (c) Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency in 2012-13. [113648]

Mr Hayes: The chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency is responsible for all matters concerning the funding and contracting of post 19 education and training provision. I have therefore asked the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency to reply to the hon. Member direct.

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which sub-contractors are involved in delivering (a) the adult skills budget, (b) 16-18 Apprenticeships and (c) adult community learning programmes, (i) nationally, (ii) in the west midlands, (iii) in Stoke-on-Trent local authority and (iv) in Stoke-on-Trent Central constituency. [113649]

Mr Hayes: The chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency is responsible for all matters concerning the funding and contracting of post 19 education and training provision. I have therefore asked the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency to reply to the hon. Member direct.

Tristram Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how he plans to monitor the effectiveness of the Due Diligence Gateway in assessing the suitability of organisations to be accredited on the Register of Training Organisations. [113650]

Mr Hayes: Operational responsibility for managing the Register of Training Organisations, including the due diligence gateway rests with the Chief Executive of the Skills Funding Agency, as part of their responsibility for all matters concerning the funding and contracting of post-19 education and training provision. I have therefore asked the chief executive of the Skills Funding Agency to reply to the hon. Member direct.