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John Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent representations the Government have made to British companies operating in Burma to persuade them to withdraw from the country. 
Mr. Thomas: We are unaware of any major UK-based company operating there. The Government were instrumental in persuading the last two major UK investorsBAT and Premier Oilto withdraw from the country. Current trade levels are very low.
The UK Government discourage trade and investment with Burma. We offer no commercial services or support to UK 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 record on human rights and the country's dire economic prospects.
Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (1) what assessment he has made of the financial viability and sustainability of Post Office outreach services; 
Mr. McFadden: The Government consider that decisions about the provision of post office services including any outreach services are a matter for Post Office Ltd. and individual sub-postmasters, reflecting the needs and level of demand in local communities. We do not believe it is appropriate for Government to seek to intervene in matters which are best considered at local level.
However, we want Post Office Ltd. actively to engage with local communities, through a process of local consultation ahead of establishing outreach services, so that they can be tailored to individual circumstances and stand the best chance of acceptance and success.
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what progress has been made on discussions with the Environment Directorate-General of the European Commission on the introduction of an EU-wide ban on the importation of seal products; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Martlew: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what assessment his Department has made of the likely effects of plans to introduce an EU-wide ban on the importation of seal products; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: The Government have said that they would strongly support an EU ban on the importation of harp and hooded seal products. We expect the European Commission to announce shortly its conclusions on possible measures concerning the trade in seal products and an assessment will be made when any proposal is received.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what grants were made by his Department and its predecessor to (a) Tamworth borough council and (b) Staffordshire county council in each year since 1997; and for how much in each case. 
(a) The Department has no record of any payments to Tamworth borough council;
(b) Grants totalling £877,746.29 were paid to Staffordshire county council, from financial year 2002-03 onwards. Details by year are in the following table. Information prior to this is not available without incurring disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what consideration he has given to the appointment of an independent ombudsman to monitor relations between supermarkets and their suppliers; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Thomas: We hope that a satisfactory outcome can be achieved by the Competition Commission (CC) in its discussions with the grocery retailers about the establishment of the ombudsman. Should this not prove possible after a reasonable period of time, the Government will consider what measures might appropriately address the issues identified by the CC.
Mr. Maude: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what powers trades unions have to exclude individuals from trades union membership on the basis of their political affiliation or party political membership. 
Mr. McFadden: Under section 174 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, it is unlawful for a trade union to expel or exclude individuals from its membership on the grounds of their political party membership.
Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what UK Trade and Investments target for strategic interventions was for 2007; and how many were achieved. 
Mr. Thomas: At the start of financial year 2007-08, UK Trade and Investment introduced new top-level annual targets covering high value foreign direct investment successes; helping businesses to exploit overseas business opportunities; and increasing the quantity of research and development in the UK through business internationalisation.
Against a target to improve the performance of at least 20,000 UK businesses, of which, at least 12,000 should be innovative; UKTI assisted 15,900, of which, 12,600 were innovative; and
Against a target to increase the quantity of R and D activity in the UK so at least 1,000 businesses increase their R and D activity in the UK as a result of UKTI support; UKTI helped 2,799 UK businesses to increase R and D activity.
Latest figures for inward investment (published 3 July) show that, against an annual target to achieve at least 525 involved inward investment project successes, of which, at least 125 should be high value; UKTI exceeded its target with 549 projects, of which 182 were high value.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much timber and timber products were procured by his Department originating from independently verified legal and sustainable sources or from a licensed forest law enforcement, government and trade partner in each of the last five years; and at what cost. 
Mr. Thomas: The Department's policy is that all timber and timber products are procured specifying the point of origin and must be from a sustainable source and certified as forestry stewardship certificate or similar.
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which Government Departments the UKs regional conflict advisers based in Africa under the Africa Conflict Prevention Pool are drawn; and what the mandate and responsibilities of each is. 
There are four regional conflict adviser (RCA) posts based in Africa: in Addis Ababa, covering the horn of Africa and the African Union; in Nairobi, covering Central and Eastern Africa; in Pretoria, covering Southern Africa; and in Abuja, covering West Africa. These posts are currently filled by staff from the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office (three) and the Department for International Development (one). All four RCAs work in support of the Africa Programme of the Conflict Prevention Pool (CPP) and their role is to advise and report on conflict risk and conflict prevention, management and resolution issues in their region and to provide oversight, co-ordination and advisory support to regional and country programmes in the implementation of CPP project activity.
Lembit Öpik: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government have raised the issue of the persecution of Chinese Christians with the Chinese authorities during the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Meg Munn: We remain concerned that the prohibition of some religious groups and the legal restrictions and harassment of others undermines freedom of religious belief in China. We have repeatedly made clear that harassment of and restrictions upon religious groups is not in line with Article 18 of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which we continue to urge the Chinese to ratify. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister raised this during his visit to China in January 2008 and my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised it when he visited China in February 2008. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, Lord Malloch-Brown, raised it with Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui in August 2007.
Ben Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans the Government have to cease funding for work in China after 2011; what assessment he has made of the need for development funding in China after the Sichuan earthquake; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK Development programme with China consists of two elements. Firstly, work in China to help China achieve the Millennium Development Goals in basic education, water supply and sanitation and combating HIV and AIDS and TB. Secondly, work with China to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals globally by sharing experience and lesson learning with respect to China's engagement in Africa and with its near neighbours; and on climate change, sustainable development and learning from China's experience on poverty reduction. The bilateral programme to China is expected to end in March 2011. We expect engagement with China on international development issues to continue beyond March 2011, but the modalities for this still need to be considered.
The UK has provided funds for the immediate relief effort in response to the earthquake in Sichuan. On 16 May, three days after the earthquake struck, we provided £1 million to the Chinese Association for
NGO co-operation. The money was used to buy food, water, blankets and 2,400 tents. Between 22 and 30 May, four flights arrived in Chengdu from Dubai carrying a further 5,332 tents. The total value of the tents, including transport costs, was £1.2 million. On 18 June, we agreed a contribution of £350,000 to the International Labour Organisation for training to help survivors of the earthquake re-launch or start their own businesses for the first time. The programme aims to re-establish 1,000 businesses and start 700 new ones in the next year. The DFID total contribution to date is therefore £2.55 million.
We are currently considering establishing a facility to provide technical assistance for the reconstruction effort. It will have an initial ceiling of £1 million. The main focus of the expertise will be on areas where we already have a comparative advantage, such as health, education, water and sanitation, participatory, socially inclusive planning and community-based poverty reduction in remote villages. The facility is expected to be operational by mid-July.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how many (a) new builds and (b) major refurbishments were completed by his Department for a cost in excess of £0.5 million in (i) 2005-06, (ii) 2006-07 and (iii) 2007-08 to which the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method or equivalent was applied; how many such buildings were assessed as (A) pass, (B) good, (C) very good and (D) excellent; and if he will make a statement; 
Meg Munn: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working to fully integrate environmental factors into the design and management of our new buildings and major refurbishment in the UK and overseas. For buildings in the UK we use the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and from 2005 we have been developing a bespoke version for projects overseas which we are trialling on three projects currently under construction. The FCO completed the following new builds and major refurbishment in the last three financial years:
The two projects in the UK were part of a major refurbishment of part of the King Charles street building and jointly received a very good BREEAM rating. The National Audit Office subsequently increased this to excellent in a study for their report, Building for the future: Sustainable construction and refurbishment on the Government estate.
Mr. Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) scheduled date and (b) title was of each conference proposed to be hosted by his Department and its agencies which was cancelled before taking place in each of the last 10 years; and what costs were incurred in respect of each. 
Mr. Hague: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the (a) parameters and (b) objectives are of the November 2006 FCO-DFID Shared Service Delivery plan; and if he will place a copy of the plan in the Library. 
David Miliband: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office/Department for International Development Shared Services Delivery Plan aims to share services wherever it represents value for money and focuses on five workstreams: Human Resources; Co-location; Procurement; Information Systems; and a new Service Level Agreement.
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