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3 July 2008 : Column 1140W—continued

Departmental Visits Abroad

Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what the cost of overseas visits by each Minister in his Department has been since 1997. [214649]

Mr. Thomas: Since 1999 the Government have published the total cost of all overseas travel by Ministers and a list of all overseas travel by Cabinet Ministers costing over £500. Information for the last financial year was published on 25 July 2007, Official Report, column 1112W. Details for the financial year 2007-08 will be published before the summer recess and will include details of overseas visits undertaken by all Ministers. All ministerial travel is undertaken in accordance with the “Ministerial Code”.

Information in respect of overseas visits by all Ministers for the period 1997-99 could be provided only at disproportionate cost.


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Fuels: Fees and Charges

Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps the Government are taking to mitigate the effects of domestic fuel prices on living costs; and if he will make a statement. [215951]

Malcolm Wicks: The Government have a range of measures to help with fuel bills, including grants to improve energy efficiency and the winter fuel payment, to which this year we will add one off payments of £100 for the over-80s and £50 for the over-60s.

Spending on energy efficiency and other measures for the elderly and those on low incomes is expected to be around £2.3 billion during this current spending period.

Origin Marking: Isle of Man

Mr. Hayes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what response he has made to the Italian objection to the UK application for protected designation of origin and protected geographical indication for Isle of Man Manx Loaghtan lamb. [214154]

Jonathan Shaw: I have been asked to reply.

I am pleased to say that, following discussions between DEFRA officials and their Italian counterparts, the Italian objection was withdrawn and the name ‘Isle of Man Manx Loaghtan Lamb’ was registered as a PDO
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on 23 April 2008. It is the 37th UK product to be protected and we are continuing to encourage more applications under the scheme.

Post Office Card Account

Mr. Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made of the effects of the operation of the Post Office Card Account on the business viability of Post Office Ltd. [215954]

Mr. McFadden: The Department for Work and Pensions is currently managing a competitive tender process for the successor product to the Post Office Card Account and an announcement is expected later in the year. In advance of the procurement decision being announced, it would not be appropriate for the Government to speculate on the possible consequences of the outcome.

Post Offices: Greater London

Mr. Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what his plans are for the post office network in Greater London; and if he will make a statement. [215947]

Mr. McFadden: Post Office Ltd. has confirmed that, following its network change programme, it will retain 689 post office branches in Greater London, ensuring that 99.9 per cent. of the population will either see no change to the post office they currently use or remain within one mile by road of an alternative branch.


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