§ Mr. Davidson
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many and what percentage of the British population attended(a) Oxford or Cambridge universities, (b) independent schools and (c) both, pursuant to his answer of 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 822W, on permanent secretaries in the Home Civil Service, what steps are being taken to ensure that there is equality of opportunity for appointment to senior posts; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Leslie
The figures are not available in the form requested. However, in 2000 2.4 per cent. of students in higher education were studying at Oxford or Cambridge University, and 7 per cent. of pupils aged 14 were attending assisted or independent schools. Also in 2000, 45 per cent. of the 5,900 students entering Oxford or Cambridge University came from independent schools.982W
All appointments to senior posts, as with all permanent civil service posts, are made on the basis of merit and an individual's ability to do the job.