Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 18 February 2008]: On 6 February 2008 the Government published their initial response to a public consultation carried out as part of the 2007 review of export control legislation. The response can be viewed on BERR's website at:
The initial response commits the Government to (1) extending export laws to control the brokering and trafficking, by UK persons anywhere in the world, of small arms, man portable air defence systems (MANPADs), and those cluster munitions that cause unacceptable harm to civilians; (2) extending controls on the export and trading of torture equipment to include sting sticks; (3) starting ED negotiations to introduce a new EU-wide torture end use control, which would enable all EU states to make licensableand therefore refusethe export of any equipment believed to be for use in acts of torture; and (4) rationalising the licensing treatment of long range missiles and unmanned air vehicles.
Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what contribution his Department will make to the funding of programmes run by (a) Business Link and (b) the Manufacturing Advisory Service for the provision of advice on resources efficiency to businesses in 2008-09; 
(2) what contribution his Department plans to make to the funding of programmes run by (a) Business Link and (b) the Manufacturing Advisory Service for the provision of advice on resources efficiency to businesses in 2008-09. 
|(1 )expected to be at least match funded by RDA contributions|
Steve Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will bring forward proposals to require businesses above a certain size to put in place sustainability strategies and to submit them to his Department. 
Malcolm Wicks: It is not Governments role to inquire into the sustainability of individual firms. Business must ensure its own long term competitiveness in a low carbon economy and investors must satisfy themselves that they are investing in companies equipped to meet future environmental and social challenges.
Mr. Jeremy Browne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many Ministerial residences were available to his Department's Ministers and those of its predecessors in each of the last 10 years. 
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent meetings his Department has held with energy companies to discuss the premium paid by pre-payment customers for gas and electricity; and what progress has been made in encouraging energy suppliers to reduce this premium. 
Malcolm Wicks: I last met representatives of the six the largest suppliers and Ofgem on 31 January, with the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. We both expressed strongly our growing concern about rising tariff differentials.
Gas and electricity suppliers have been considering their tariff structures and two companies have equalised their standard credit and prepayment prices for electricity, while one offers prepayment customers a lower price for both fuels than that paid by standard credit customers.
The Government will continue to work with Ofgem to ensure we do all we can to encourage customers to switch to the best payment method. There are considerable benefits to be hadcustomers changing supplier and payment type (eg credit to direct debit) should see an average saving of around £130, and may even make larger savings of up to £200.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform with reference to the answer of 15 October 2007, Official Report, column 805W, when he will publish his Department's analysis of which of the major six energy companies offer a proportional programme of assistance. 
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will make a statement on progress towards the Governments target of eradicating fuel poverty (a) in England by 2010 and (b) in the UK by 2016 to 2018. 
However, as indicated in our most recent UK Fuel Poverty Strategy 5(th) Annual Progress Report www.berr.gov.uk/energy/fuel-poverty/strategy/index.html energy prices since 2003 have had an impact on households in fuel poverty.
The Government remain committed to our fuel poverty targets, working together with those key stakeholders including the energy suppliers, voluntary groups, energy efficiency scheme managers and campaigning organisations to ensure that appropriate progress is made.
Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the impact on the rural economy of the cost of petrol and diesel. 
Malcolm Wicks: The Department has not specifically undertaken an assessment of the impact of the cost of petrol and diesel on the rural economy. However, prices in rural and remote areas, where distribution costs are higher and the degree of retail competition is lower, will typically be higher than the UK average.
Mrs. Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what support his Department has provided to (a) the furniture manufacturing industry and (b) its supply chain in the last 10 years; which elements of such support have been provided on a regional basis; and what plans he has to fund future assistance to the (i) furniture manufacturing sector and (ii) its supply chain to support its global competitiveness. 
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer to her earlier question on 11 December 2006, Official Report, column 805W, which detailed the financial support to the furniture sector since 1990. Since that time we have continued to provide funding towards UK First, the furniture industry forum, and will continue to do so until March 2008. UK Trade and Investment continues to help the furniture sector succeed overseas with support under the Tradeshow Access Programme and the sector forms a component of the strategy to market the UK's creative industries overseas. In the regions Advantage West Midlands has set up Furniture West Midlands to support the sector and Furniture Link, managed by
Business Link London, is helping furniture companies to develop business opportunities. In addition the Government Businesslink service offers a range of support solutions to companies in all sectors. Support is also available through the Manufacturing Advisory Service and under the Technology Programme if the industry can address the technology priorities identified by the Technology Strategy Board.
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what agreement his Department has made with CMC insurers about the CMC/CMR co-morbidity report costs for service claims under the miners' compensation claim scheme. 
Malcolm Wicks: No specific agreement has been made between the Department and the Coal Mining Contractors' (CMC) insurers with respect to the costs of CMC and Coal Mining Related co-morbidity reports for services claims under the Vibration White Finger scheme.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what plans he has for the future of the low carbon buildings programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: From a total budget of £86 million made available through the low carbon buildings programme, we have committed approximately £26 million to 5,700 household, community group, public, private and charitable sector projects to date.
Grants of up to £2,500 per property remain available to households, and grants of up to £1 million remain available to public sector organisations and charitable bodies through to 2009. Further details on the household stream are available at:
Beyond LCBP, electricity technologies are supported by the renewables obligation (RO) and CERT will apply to microgeneration technologies from April 2008. More significant changes to the RO are planned for 2009 including differentiated levels of support to different technologies in order to encourage a larger contribution from emerging renewable technologies. This change will benefit microgenerators (i.e. generators under 50 kW), including all PV. We will also be looking at support for microgeneration as part of the renewable energy strategy.
Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate his Department has made of the number of domestic microgeneration installations, broken down by type; and if he will make a statement. 
Malcolm Wicks: An Energy Saving Trust report commissioned by the then DTI and completed in 2005 estimated that there were approximately 82,000 microgeneration installations in the United Kingdom by the end of 2004. We are currently commissioning further research to provide up to date estimates.
|Technology||Number of installations||Total number of grant funded installations to end December 2006|
|(1) EST report end March 2005|
(2) Total likely to be higher
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what targets he has set for installing heat producing microgeneration in settlements of fewer than 10,000 in homes classified as (a) hard to treat and (b) hard to reach. 
BERR and the local regional development agencies have each provided £l million in co-funding to each of two demonstration programmes in North-East England and Yorkshire and Humberside, which consist of a number of projects to provide mains gas or renewables technologies to deprived communities. Each of these programmes has a target of helping 20 communities and installing measures in 2,000 homes in each RDA area.
David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what time limit the current split between beneficiaries and Government of future valuation surpluses from the Mineworkers Pension Scheme are subject to; and if he will meet trustees to discuss these arrangements. 
Malcolm Wicks [holding answer 21 February 2008]: The equal division between beneficiaries and Government of periodic surpluses in the Mineworkers Pension Scheme is a fundamental element of the arrangements established in 1994 whereby the Government provides an insolvency guarantee to the scheme. These arrangements are not time limited. Although my officials are in regular dialogue with scheme representatives on a range of issues, I have no immediate plans to meet the trustees.
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