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Mr. McCartney [holding answer 4 December 2006]: The investigation into Farepak is being carried out under section 447 of the Companies Act 1985 by officers of the Department's Companies Investigations Branch. Unlike the appointment of inspectors, it is not the practice to disclose the names of investigators carrying out these enquiries.
The Government established Consumer Directto offer practical advice for consumers. 350,000 consumers have had access to advice in this year alone, with estimated total benefits to consumers worth£135 million.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what funding his Department provided to support the furniture industry in each year since 1990; and how many staff in his Department worked to support the furniture industry in each year. 
|Support||Amount of support (£)|
1. Figures Trade and Seminar support not available before 1997 and for competitiveness before 2001.
2. Excludes business support funding from business links which are not available by sector.
3. Excludes RSA and SfIE support on soft furnishings or plastic furniture as the SIC code that covers them also covers a range of non furniture goods.
A range of staff across the Department have worked to support the UK furniture industry, on issues such as productivity, exporting, standards, fair competition and research and development. It is not possible to isolate their work for the furniture sector from their other duties.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with each of the regional development agencies on the promotion of the furniture manufacturing industry in each of the last five years. 
(a) In January 2005, my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, South (formerly Minister for Construction, Small Business and Enterprise) gave a
short presentation on behalf of DTI/UKTI at the Birmingham furniture show. The audience included representatives from Advantage West Midlands, overseas buyers of furniture and representatives from the UK furniture industry.
(b) During the period 2003 to 2005, UK Trade and Investment officials met with representatives from a selection of RDAs. Specific meetings were held with Advantage West Midlands, East Midlands Development Agency and One North East. These meetings were to discuss how the then consumer goods team, within UKTI, could add value to the RDAs international agenda for consumer goods. The furniture industry was only one of the elements discussed. Officials from DTI also met Advantage West Midlands in 2004 to discuss the Birmingham furniture show and other issues.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the implications for the furniture industry of the trend for smaller houses and flats; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: No such assessment has been made by the Department. The furniture industry is fully capable of assessing what the impact of any trend for smaller houses will be on the sector and how it should respond.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much inefficiency savings has been made in his Department and its associated public bodies as a result of the Gershon Review; and if he will make a statement. 
Jim Fitzpatrick: At the end of the second quarterof year two of the Departments efficiencyprogramme, the data available indicated an overall position of £304.60 million cashable and non-cashable savings against a quarter two year two target of £183.59 million. Of the £304.60 million savings reported (in line with Office of Government Commerce data classification requirements) £120.39 million classified as Final and £138.91 million as Interim. £45.30 million of savings were classified as Preliminary.
Savings classified as Preliminary or Interim require additional data (to confirm them as Gershon review efficiencies), which may mean that some savings need to be revised in due course with the aim of reaching a Final position in most work streams in the coming year.
Alan Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many residents of Nottingham, South have been represented by the Union of Democratic Mineworkers and its solicitors in respect of vibration white finger and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. 
Malcolm Wicks: The following table details how many chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and vibration white finger (VWF) claims are currently registered with the UDM and its Solicitors in the Nottingham, South constituency.
|Solicitor||COPD claims registered||VWF claims registered|
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many claims have been submitted for (a) vibration white finger and (b) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by (i) UDM/Vendside, (ii) Beresfords Solicitors, (iii) Moss Solicitors, (iv) Wake Smith Solicitors, (v) BRM Solicitors and (vi) AMS Law, broken down by constituency. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 5 December 2006]: A spreadsheet of COPD and VWF claims registered by the UDM, Vendside, Beresfords Solicitors, Moss Solicitors, Wake Smith Solicitors, BRM Solicitors and AMS Law, broken down by constituency, has been placed in the Libraries of the House.
Dr. Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether the Government plan to change the consumers rights to request the relevant Migration Authorisation Code in the event of unsatisfactory service by an internet service provider. 
Margaret Hodge: The matter raised is the responsibility of the Regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the chief executives letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.
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