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Mr. Hanley : None.

Mr. Menzies Campbell : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list by station (a) the units and (b) the

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aircraft currently deployed in Germany, together with the number of members of the Royal Air Force and their dependants.

Mr. Hanley : There are four Tornado GR1 squadrons, one RAF Regiment squadron and a signals unit at RAF Bruggen ; two Harrier squadrons, two RAF Regiment squadrons, and one mixed Chinook/Puma squadron at RAF Laarbruck. HQ 2 Group and its supporting units and a signals unit are located at RAF Rheindahlen. An Air weapons range is based at RAF Nordhorn and there is an RAF hospital at RAF Wegberg. Currently there are some 6,000 RAF personnel in Germany. Figures for the number of their dependants are not held centrally.

Falkland Islands (Mines)

Mr. Boyes : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement of the latest situation regarding the removal of mines from the Falkland Islands ; how many military and civilians have been killed or wounded by mines ; what assistance the Argentine Government are giving in the process of clearing mines, what monetary compensation the Argentine Government are supplying ; and how many Argentine (a) civilian and (b) military workers are involved in the process.

Mr. Hanley : Immediately after the Falklands conflict in 1982, our forces in the Falkland Islands set in hand an extensive programme of identifying, marking and, to the extent possible, clearing the minefields left behind by the Argentines. This programme was suspended in August 1983. Four engineers were seriously wounded in the course of these operations, although there were no civilian casualties. An explosive ordnance detachment remains

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based in the Falklands to advise the civilian population on the areas to avoid and to deal with any mines which become exposed. Argentina has recently offered to pay for a third party to clear the minefields in the Falklands. The Falkland Islands Government have agreed that this proposal should be explored further, and we are following this up with Argentina. Before accepting the Argentine offer we would need to reach agreement on various practical issues. There would not be any involvement by Argentine workers in any operation on the Falkland Islands to clear the mines.

War Widows' Pensions

Mr. Viggers : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give details of the changes that he proposes in the eligibility for war widows' pensions whereby pension will be diminished or denied where the deceased has contributed to or caused his own death by tobacco or alcohol poisoning.

Mr. Hague : I have been asked to reply.

On 4 January 1994 we wrote to members of the Central Advisory Committee on War Pensions with proposals to exclude from the scope of the War Pensions scheme any death or disablement due to the use or effects of tobacco or the consumption of alcohol. This exclusion would not apply where the individual was suffering from a mental disablement which was attributable to service, assessed at 80 per cent. or more, and caused him to smoke or drink or prevented him from giving up the habit.

We are now considering their responses and no decisions have been made.


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