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Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what steps he has taken to ensure that Government departments, local authorities and health trusts are complying with his policy to pay small and medium-sized enterprises within 10 days; 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 12 January 2009]: The Prime Minister set a new target for all central Government Departments to pay within 10 days on 8 October 2008. The Local Government Association and the NHS chief executive are leading on promoting best payment practice across local authorities and the NHS trusts respectively. The Department is working with all central Departments to identify and disseminate best practice.
Central Government Departments will be reporting their performance against the 10 day target in their annual reports, mirroring current arrangements for reporting performance against the 30 day target. Performance will be measured for payment to all suppliers, regardless of size.
We are also supporting business to business prompt paymentin November 2008, we published a series of managing cashflow guides and in December 2008 we supported the launch of a new prompt payment code by the Institute of Credit Management. Since January 2009, there have been over 46,000 downloads of the guides and over 150 companies have signed up to the code.
Ian Pearson [holding answer 5 March 2009]: Micro breweries are part of the Standard Industrial Classification (2003) manufacture of beverages category (SIC 159). Details of the number of businesses in this category over the last 10 years with at least one employee can be found at:
The ONS publication UK Business: Activity, Size and Location provides figures on the number of micro businesses (micro businesses are those with 0 to nine employees) whose main business activity is the manufacture of beer (SIC 1596). The publication covers only those businesses that are registered for VAT and/or PAYE in 2008 and those who are registered for VAT in 2007 and earlier years. It therefore misses the smallest businesses that are registered for neither VAT nor PAYE. The data are available on a consistent basis for the past six years and are shown in the following table.
|Number of VAT-registered (all years) and/or PAYE-Registered (2008 only) micro businesses (0 to nine employees) where the main business activity is the manufacture of beer (SIC 1596)|
Mr. David Anderson: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what steps his Department is taking to monitor the interest rates charged to small businesses on loans guaranteed under the enterprise finance guarantee scheme. 
Ian Pearson: As with a commercial loan, any interest rates charged by the lenders in connection with an EFG loan is a matter for the lenders. However, there are currently 26 approved EFG lenders and borrowers are advised to shop around for the best deal available.
The Small Business Finance Forum comprising of UK's high street banks and SME representative groups agreed the establishment of a SME monitoring panel which monitors the availability, risk and overall cost of SME lending across the five major banks.
Mr. Oaten: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what resources he is putting in place to ensure that applications for the Small Business Finance Scheme are processed efficiently. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 15 December 2008]: We have appointed Capital for Enterprise Ltd. (CfEL) to manage our relationship with lenders and fund managers. Capital for Enterprise Ltd. review activity to ensure the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme and Capital for Enterprise Fund operates smoothly.
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform which banks he expects to participate in the Small Business Finance Scheme; what steps his Department is taking to encourage such participation; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 15 December 2008]: As of 25 March 2009, 26 lenders have been approved to administer the Enterprise Finance Guarantee including all the major high street banks, providing access across the whole of the UK.
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what criteria there will be for small businesses wishing to access funding under the Small Business Finance Scheme; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 15 December 2008]: The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) is available to SMEs in the UK with an annual turnover of up to £25 million seeking bank loans of between £1,000 and £1 million. There are some sectoral exclusions mainly relating to state aid rules. The scheme is targeted at SMEs who are at the margins of viable lending and not to replace mainstream lending to SMEs.
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when the Small Business Finance Scheme will become operational; and if he will make a statement. 
Ian Pearson [holding answer 15 December 2008]: The Enterprise Finance Scheme (EFG) (announced in the pre-Budget report as the Small Business Finance Scheme) became operational on 14 January 2009. As of 25 March, over 1,600 businesses have made eligible applications for a value of nearly £175 million which has been offered, being assessed or processed.
To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he plans to answer Question (a) 243136, (b) 243135
and (c) 243821 tabled by the hon. Member for Winchester on 9 December 2008, on the Small Business Finance Scheme. 
Justine Greening: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) when he plans to answer Question 244004, on the Small Business Finance Scheme, tabled on 10 December 2008; 
Mr. Greg Knight: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) when he plans to answer Question 246108, on payments to small and medium-sized enterprises, tabled on 12 January 2009; 
Mr. Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many staff of his Department were recorded absent for non-medical reasons on (a) 2 February 2009 and (b) 3 February 2009; what estimate he has made of the (i) cost to his Department and (ii) number of working hours lost as a result of such absence; and what guidance his Department issued to staff in respect of absence on those days. 
Paul Goggins: On 2 February 2009 32 staff in the Northern Ireland Office were absent due to non-medical reasons; and on 3 February 2009 22 staff were absent due to non-medical reasons. For the majority of these absences staff used their annual leave entitlement and there was no additional cost to the Department. In the remaining cases staff were granted special paid leave, in accordance with civil service terms and conditions. Staff who were absent due to the weather conditions were advised to attempt to attend if at all possible, but not to take unnecessary risks or put themselves in danger. The cost to the Department for the absences was £5,051.13 and 372.8 working hours were lost.
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make it his policy to ensure that no cleaning products or ingredients of cleaning products used by his Department have been tested on animals. 
Greg Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent progress his Department has made towards the target of increasing its energy efficiency per square metre of its Estate by 15 per cent. by 2010, relative to 1999-2000 levels; and if he will make a statement. 
Paul Goggins: The Northern Ireland Office submits its energy consumption data to the Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel, as part of the Northern Ireland Public Sector Energy Campaign.
John Mason: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what property has been lost or stolen from his Department in the last 12 months; and what the estimated cost was of replacement of such property. 
Paul Goggins: Complete data on how much and what proportion of waste was recycled in each of the last five years are not available. However, all buildings are involved in recycling. A cross-departmental recycling scheme on the Stormont Estate, which covers a large proportion of Northern Ireland Office staff, shows a recycling rate of 38 per cent.
Grant Shapps: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many (a) staff and (b) ministerial away days were organised by his Department in each of the last five years; and what the total cost was in each year. 
Paul Goggins: The following table provides a summary of the number of away days for Divisions and teams organised by the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) in each of the past five financial years. It is not possible (taking disproportionate costs threshold into account) to provide a breakdown of the total costs for each year. The NIO's policy is however to ensure that away days have a clear business objective and are cost-effective. The Department places an emphasis on team development through volunteering, to meet our corporate social responsibility commitments.
|Number of staff away days|
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