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|UK exports of goods to Burma||UK imports of goods from Burma|
|UK exports of services to Burma||UK imports of services from Burma|
The UK Government discourage trade and investment with Burma. We offer no commercial services to companies wishing to trade with or invest in Burma. British companies who inquire about trade with Burma are informed of the grave political situation, the regime's atrocious record on human rights and the country's dire economic prospects.
|UK exports of goods to Columbia||UK imports of goods from Columbia|
|UK exports of services to Columbia||UK imports of services from Columbia|
Richard Burden: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent assessment he has made as part of his consumer protection responsibilities of the merits of applying supplies of goods and services variable administration fees for consumers according to method of payment. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government have not made any such assessment. The decision on whether to accept certain payment methods, and whether or not to charge a fee for accepting certain payment methods, is a commercial one for banks and retailers. However, in doing so, they must take account of legal obligations which are relevant to the giving of information about prices. The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 prohibit traders from engaging in unfair commercial practices which harm consumers economic interests. In broad terms, commercial practices are acts or omissions by a trader directly connected to the supply of products to consumers. The giving of information about prices is one form of commercial practice.
Dr. Kumar: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to protect consumers from the effects of rises in the price of consumer commodities during the current economic situation. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government take the view that their role is to facilitate competition by promoting open and competitive markets, enforced by strong and independent competition authorities, and empowered consumers, rather than to control directly the price setting behaviour of the firms.
Hence, apart from a limited number of exceptions, no price controls operate in the UK and no restrictions are placed on the prices which business may charge consumers. Retailers are free to set their own prices, but they are required to display them in an unambiguous, easily identifiable way in order to enable consumers to compare prices in different outlets and so obtain the best value for money.
Regulation may be necessary where competition is not working effectively or is not fully developed. Under UK competition law it is the responsibility of the Office of Fair Trading to investigate allegations of anti-competitive behaviour and possible abuses of market power.
Mark Williams: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what advice his Department issues to companies on undertaking business with concerns based in Western Sahara. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government regards the status of Western Sahara as undetermined pending a negotiated outcome providing for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara. In this respect it continues to support fully the efforts of the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to the Western Sahara, Christopher Ross, and the negotiation process currently underway.
|UK exports of goods to Sudan||UK imports of goods from Sudan|
|UK exports of services to Sudan||UK imports of services from Sudan|
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the debt owed to British companies by the government of the United Arab Emirates. 
|UK exports of goods to Uzbekistan||UK imports of goods from Uzbekistan|
|UK exports of services to Uzbekistan||UK imports of services from Uzbekistan|
Mr. Chaytor: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what assessment he has made of the effects of the withdrawal of funding for equivalent or lower qualifications students taking courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects on levels of fees for such courses. 
Mr. Lammy: Science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects continue to attract institutional funding when studied as an equivalent or lower qualification. Therefore, there need be no change in the level of fees charged for these courses as a result of our decision to redistribute some of the funding from those who have already benefited from higher education to first time entrants.
Stephen Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what consideration he is giving to reviewing the period of time available to a college to find a new placement for an apprentice who loses the job to which the apprenticeship is related. 
Mr. Simon: When an apprentice is made redundant, the first option that training providers and the National Apprenticeship Service will explore is finding immediate alternative employment. We recognise that the current economic climate can make it even more challenging to find a new employer place. We have agreed new flexibilities to allow apprentices who cannot find immediate alternative employment to move into full-time further education for up to six months while maintaining their existing apprenticeship framework and maintaining their status as an apprentice. The Learning and Skills Council have advised providers of this new flexibility which allows redundant apprentices to maintain their framework for an extended period while they and their provider seek a new employer.
Justine Greening: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many (a) permanent, (b) agency and (c) temporary staff on contracts of (i) up to three months, (ii) between three and six months, (iii) between six and 12 months and (iv) 12 months or more there are in each directorate of his Department. 
Mr. Simon: Information on lengths of contract is not held electronically and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Permanent staff on fixed term appointments will typically be on contracts of more than 12 months. Temporary staff are on contracts of up to 12 months. Length of contracts for agency workers will vary and depend on business need. The latest information on staff numbers in each directorate employed on a permanent, temporary or agency contract is set out in the following table.
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