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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Northern Ireland Office (Lord Dubs): Forty-five million pounds of the £60 million subvention remains to be spent. The Department of Economic Development has already engaged a very wide range of interests in considering how best the subvention might be used. In September 1995 it initiated extensive public consultation on the matter. The responses received from a broad spectrum of interest groups revealed consensus in using the funds to help all consumers meet rising electricity costs, and on energy efficiency measures.
This outcome reflected the recommendation contained in the report of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on Electricity Prices in Northern Ireland. Consistent with it, the department is now considering how best the remaining £45 million might be spent on measures aimed at reducing electricity prices and on energy efficiency schemes. It hopes to make an announcement in the near future.
Lord Dubs: The European Union ban on the export of beef and beef products from the UK prevents Northern Ireland beef from reaching the world markets. Her Majesty's Government are making every effort to have the ban lifted and will allow Northern Ireland beef to return to world markets as soon as the European Union removes the restriction.
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