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Of wine, mobile phones, the bagatelle of £600m and the renaissance of Parliamentary wit.

What's £600 million between friends?

Mr. Djanogly: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what estimate he has made of the annual cost to businesses of the increase in the annual statutory holiday entitlement from 24 to 28 days.

Mr. McFadden ....The extension was implemented in two phases to help small and medium businesses. The second phase extended the right from 24 to 28 days holiday a year. The cost to business of this second phase was estimated at between £1.8 and 2.4 billion.

I would not wish to trust to the BERR's calculations if I was splitting a bar bill with it.

Is this such a big problem?

Steve Webb: To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform if he will have discussions with representatives of the mobile phone industry to discourage the use in the manufacture of mobile phone batteries of minerals which may have come from conflict zones; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. McFadden [holding answer 27 March 2009]: I have no current plans to meet representatives of the mobile phone industry to discuss this issue.

Elsewhere the question of the FCO's wine cellar came up again, although unlike in December someone with some pull noted it as it made the papers.

Anyway, then:

"Government Hospitality defines the cellar stock as either "fine" or "beverage" wines. Over the last five years the cellar stock has amounted to between 36, 500 and 40, 000 bottles. From this total, approximately 2 000 bottles are "reception" or "beverage" wines, and approximately 35, 000 are "fine" wines. The stock of spirits and liqueurs is approximately 200 bottles. The overall value of the cellar stock is approximately £790,000".

And now:

"The most recent available valuation of the Government Hospitality wine cellar places the current value of the stock at approximately £792,000.

The cellar contains approximately 39,500 bottles, of which fewer than 500 are spirits or liqueurs. Small quantities of beer are bought on an ad hoc basis; it does not form part of the cellar stock".

Bit of an upsurge in bottles of spirits and liqueurs by the look of it, unless Merron is seeking to create uncertainty.

And making full use of parliamentary privilege in a debate on MPs privacy, we have Disraeli and Churchill re-born in the persons of John Bercow and Julian Lewis:

John Bercow: He’s a nutter.

Dr. Lewis: Well, it’s not just that he’s a nutter.

Classy, eh?

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Anonymous IanVisits said... 8:25 am

The mobile phone issue almost certainly relates to the use of Coltan - a vital mineral in the semiconductor industry although primarily for mobile phone chips.

It is a serious issue as coltan mining in Congo is funding local warlords and also destroying vital habitats for the mountain gorillas.

However, the meeting would be pointless as all major phone manufacturers already ensure that their chips use coltan (tantalum) that is not mined in Congo - but usually Australia.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:41 am

Ian - Thanks for the insight.  

Blogger ScotsToryB said... 5:46 pm

I've wondered what happened to Djanogly Reinhartolgy, I now rest easy.


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