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(2) whether the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has extended its moratorium on the grant of new degree-awarding powers to institutions in Wales. 
A moratorium on new applications for Degree Awarding Powers (DAP) and University Title (UT) was put in place for institutions in England and Wales last year as we consulted on revised criteria for DAP and UT. In a written ministerial statement on 16 March 2004, Official Report, column 16WS, I announced that we would be holding further discussions on renewable DAP and a paper will be issued on 14 May 2004. A copy of this paper will be placed in the House Libraries and will also be available on the Department for Education and Skills website. We hope to finalise new criteria for DAP and UT in England and Wales by this summer.
13 May 2004 : Column 544W
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made in reducing the number of adults without a NVQ level 2 or equivalent qualification by 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ivan Lewis: Good progress is being made to reach our 2010 target of reducing by 40 per cent. those without a level 2 qualification (NVQ level 2 or equivalent). According to the Labour Force Survey, the reduction realised as of autumn 2003 was 5.4 per cent. from the autumn 2001 baseline. The interim milestone for 2006 is that there should be 1 million more adults in the workforce with full level 2 or better than in 2002. Autumn 2003 figures show an increase of 187,000 adults with at least a level 2 compared to the autumn 2002 baseline.
The Skills Strategy White Paper (published July 2003) includes a wide range of interlinked measures to remove barriers to learning, support participation for individuals and increase the amount of training undertaken with employers. It set out our intention to introduce a new entitlement for any adult in the labour force to have access to free tuition for their first full level 2 qualification. We are working with the LSC on phasing in the level 2 entitlement, with phase one in 200405 and full rollout beginning the following year.
In September 2003, we started piloting the new Adult Learning Grant in ten local LSC areas, which offers up to £30 per week to adults on low incomes studying full-time for a first full level 2 qualification. Over 3,000 ALG applications have been received and over 2,000 awards have been made to learners. From September, we are doubling the size of the current pilot by extending the ALG throughout the SE and NE regions, as part of linked trials of key initiatives announced in the Skills Strategy.
There are currently 12 Employer Training Pilots (ETPs) which are testing new financial support measures to improve access to training and enable employees to attain basic and level 2 skills. By mid April over 49,000 learners and nearly 9,000 employers were engaged. The expansion of ETPs was announced in the Budget and ETPs will now be available in 20 LSC areas in England.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department and its agencies and non-departmental public bodies spent on external consultants and advisers in each of the last three years. 
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of claimants of disability benefits aged between 50 and state pension age worked immediately prior to their claim, in each year since 1997, broken down by region; and if he will make a statement. 
Maria Eagle: Information is not available on whether people worked immediately prior to claiming disability living allowance or industrial injuries disablement benefit. Both of these benefits can be paid to people in work, as well as to those who have stopped work or never worked.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of abolishing the overlapping benefit rule in respect of carers' allowance for (a) women over 60 years and (b) men and women over 65 years. 
Maria Eagle: The gross cost of exempting all pensioners over 65 in receipt of carers' allowance from the overlapping benefits rule would be around £200 million. After adjusting for offsets in income-related benefits the cost would be around £130 million 1 . Exempting women only, aged 60 and over, would cost £155 million (£100 million after adjustments), although our commitment to the European directive on equal treatment would of course prevent us from introducing such a measure.
Neither do the figures take account of the behavioural effect of carers who have not claimed a carer's allowance but who would be induced to do so if the overlapping benefits rules were amended as suggested.
1 Estimates use benefit rates for 200304 and are based on a 100 per cent. extract of claims for carers' allowance taken from the carers' allowance computer system for May 2003, a 5 per cent. extract from claims recorded on the income support computer system in 2003 and a 1 per cent. extract of housing benefit/council tax benefit claims of May 2001.
Norman Lamb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the production of his Department's latest annual report cost; how many copies were printed; how many copies of it were sold at its cover price; to whom copies of the report have been provided free of charge; and how many copies were provided free of charge. 
Maria Eagle: The Department for Work and Pensions latest departmental report was published on 29 April 2004. Final expenditure figures are not yet available, but the costs of production incurred by the Department are estimated to be £38,897. Publishing costs are met by the publisher, TSO (The Stationery Office), and do not fall to government.
1,500 copies of the report were produced, of which 1,160 were for the Department's use. Distribution details are set out in the following table. The report is also available free of charge on the departmental website.
The production and sale of remaining copies of the report are matters for the publisher. Meaningful information about the number of copies of the 2004 report sold at the cover price of £27 is not yet available as publication is so recent.
|Recipients||Number of copies distributed free of charge|
|House of Lords||50|
|House of Commons||200|
|Chair of the Treasury Select Committee||1|
|Chair and members of Work and Pensions Select Committee||23|
|Social Security Advisory Committee||15|
|HM Treasury and Cabinet Office||3|
|Health and Safety Commission/Executive||10|
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people have been employed on 13 week casual appointments in his Department in the last 12 months, broken down by agency; and if he will make a statement. 
|DWP Corporate Centre||0|
|The Pension Service||5|
|Child Support Agency||1|
|Disability and Carers Service||13|
|The Appeals Service||0|
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