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David Lammy: The Government are committed to growth in postgraduate education along the lines that the hon. Gentleman suggests. I am sure that he will agree that although graduates face a tough autumn, in the medium to long term those in the employment market arrive in the end where they intended to be.
David Lammy: UCAS data on full-time undergraduates shows there were 502,000 UK domiciled applicants last year. Of that, 405,000 had accepted a place by the end of clearing.
David Lammy: There were 457,000 UK domiciled UCAS applicants as of March this year. This is a 35,000 increase on the same point last year. We do not have any estimates of applicant numbers for 2010.
David Lammy: The information requested is not readily available and can be provided only at a disproportionate cost.
David Lammy: No formal complaints have been received by this Department about skills brokers. Employer satisfaction with brokerage remains high with 86 per cent. of employers being very satisfied with the service they received.
David Lammy: holding answer 17 December 2007 Except in exceptional cases, when it is in the public interest, it has been the policy of successive governments not to comment on breaches of security.
David Lammy: We have announced that, for the first time, funding will be targeted specifically at expanding apprenticeships for adults aged over 25. That will mean 30,000 additional such apprenticeships costing £90 million over the next three years.
David Lammy: Alongside announcing investment of more than £1 billion in apprenticeships, we are introducing a new national online matching service. We will publish the outcomes of our review of apprenticeships early this year.
David Lammy: There are over 200 different apprenticeship or advanced apprenticeship frameworks on offer to potential learners across more than 80 industry sectors. However, there exists no definitive classification of frameworks by sector of employer.
David Lammy: All London-based staff in the Department are employed above the national minimum wage level.
John Bercow: On the assumption that the questions are on this point, I will bring in David Lammy first and then Jim Knight.
David Lammy: I am pleased to hear you emphasise completion rates and quality, which obviously accounts for the overall figures. Would you agree?
David Lammy: What were the completion rates for apprenticeships 10 years ago?
David Lammy: The Department uses incandescent lights for its festive decorations. However, we shall be reviewing our policy for next year.
David Lammy: The Department is split across sites and has four Christmas Trees on its Estate. Two of these trees are real and are recycled by our foliage company. One of the artificial trees is reused each year. The other artificial tree is hired from our foliage company and returned to them at the end of the hire period.
David Lammy: I have been asked to reply. In the financial year 2006-07, the overall spend by the Learning and Skills Council on the delivery of the Offenders' Learning and Skills Service in custodial establishments to adult offenders was £115 million.
David Lammy: No training is offered to trade unions representatives financed directly by this Department, though like all employees they do receive funding for their work and personal development training as any good employer would. All trade unions representatives receive their TU training and funding through the Union Learning Fund setup in 1998.
Paul Head: My name is Paul Head. I am principal of the college of North East London which is in Tottenham—David Lammy’s constituency. I am also an adviser to the London Skills and Employment Board.
John Bercow: Thank you very much indeed. We will go straight into questions. In this evidence session, we have until six o’clock. Then we will allow an equal allocation of time for David Lammy and his supporting official.
David Lammy: The information requested is not collected centrally.