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Mr. Hanley : Plans to evolve the British garrison in Belize into a training presence were announced to Parliament on 13 May 1993 by my right hon. Friend the Member for Watford at column 561. The draw-down of the garrison accordingly began on 1 January 1994 and there are currently around 1,300 service and civilian personnel in Belize. The draw-down will be completed by the end of September 1994. Thereafter, we plan to begin a programme of jungle training deployments from the United Kingdom, hosted by a resident training team in Belize.
Mr. Llew Smith : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent assessment has been made of persistence in the oceanic environment of chemical weapon agents used in (a) Operation Harness, (b) Operation Ozone and (c) Operation Negation in the Bahamas in the 1940s and 1950s ;
(2) what recent assessments have been made by his Department into the persistence in the environment of chemical pathogens used in Operation Cauldron in Scottish waters off Stornaway in 1952 and Operation Hesperus in Scottish waters in 1953.
Letter from Graham S. Pearson to Mr. Llew Smith, dated 9 February 1994 :
Column 359Parliamentary Questions 26 and 519, Order Papers 2 and 3 February 1994 1. Your Parliamentary Questions to the Secretary of State for Defence asking what assessment has been made of the persistence in the environment of the biological agents used in Operations HARNESS, OZONE and NEGATION in the Bahamas in the 1940s and 1950s and in Operations CAULDRON and HESPERUS in the Scottish waters in 1952 and 1953 have been passed to me to reply as Chief Executive of the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment.
2. The biological agents in these trials were disseminated from point sources either instantaneously or for a few minutes. As soon as the agents began their down-wind travel as an aerosol, the living microorganisms started to die naturally as a result of exposure to such factors as solar radiation. In addition, the agent would be diluted continuously to an increasing extent in the atmosphere so that the concentration rapidly dropped below one that might present any danger. Finally, gravitational forces would cause agent particles to be deposited on the sea. Any agent particles falling into the sea would be massively diluted as well as killed by the bactericidal and virucidal effects of the sea water.
3. Thus dilution into the atmosphere, deposition of particles into the sea and the progressive decay of the microorganisms with ensuing loss of viability and infectivity meant that the biological agent aerosols have a finite life. In effect, the biological agents ceased to exist after some period of time and distance down-wind. 4. Conditions were selected for these trials and downwind safety areas delineated from which shipping was kept away to ensure that there was no hazard to the public or to the environment.
Mr. McMaster : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish a table showing the numbers of service personnel stationed in Scotland during each of the last 15 years ; and if he will make a statement.
|Number --------------------- 1979 |19,016 1980 |18,088 1981 |18,943 1982 |19,005 1983 |18,732 1984 |20,646 1985 |20,108 1986 |19,701 1987 |19,627 1988 |19,288 1989 |20,035 1990 |19,253 1991 |18,246 1992 |18,760 1993 |19,000
Mr. Ainger : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what payments the British Government received from foreign Governments following the conclusion of the Gulf war ; on what conditions the money was paid out ; and on what it was spent ;
Column 360(2) if he will list the items on which the £660 million donated by the Kuwaiti Government to the British Government following the conclusion of the Gulf war was spent ;
(3) whether any of the £660 million paid by the Kuwaiti Government to the British Government following the conclusion of the Gulf war was given on the understanding that it would be paid to British service men as a bonus ; and what amount was so paid ;
(4) what conditions were attached to the payment by the Kuwaiti Government to the British Government of £660 million following the conclusion of the Gulf war.
Mr. Hanley : Cash contributions made by other Governments towards the cost of the Gulf conflict are detailed in the answer given my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr. Hamilton) on 16 November 1992, Official Report, columns 46-47. These contributions, including that of the Government of Kuwait, were made unconditionally, save for those from Japan and Norway, who requested that their contributions be for logistical costs.
Apart from £25,000,000 contributed by Japan taken as an appropriation- in-aid of the Defence Budget in 1990-91, cash contributions were accounted for as consolidated fund extra receipts in the defence appropriation accounts, and thus offset the Government's increased expenditure arising from the conflict. Details of the Government's additional costs are listed in the minutes of evidence, pages 2 and 3, of the fifty-fifth report of the Committee of Public Accounts.
Mr. Rooker : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those topics on which it is not his practice to answer parliamentary questions ; and if he will list any recent changes in the practice of his Department.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the number and location of (a) dwellings and (b) vacant dwellings by his Department in (i) London, (ii) Birmingham, (iii) Lancashire and (iv) Berkshire ; and if he will make a statement.
Total dwellings |London |Birmingham |Lancashire |Berkshire --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Service married quarters |3,764 |102 |425 |1,245 MOD Civilian Houses |0 |0 |0 |219 |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |3,764 |102 |425 |1,464 Vacant Dwellings Service married quarters |567 |40 |46 |71 MOD Civilian Houses |0 |0 |0 |44 |------- |------- |------- |------- Total |567 |40 |46 |115
The majority of the vacant married quarters were either undergoing or awaiting major maintenance work or modernisation or were already allocated to Service families who were due to move in shortly. In addition 229 vacant married quarters in London and 206 tenanted civilian houses in Berkshire were in the process of being sold.
Mr. Hanley : The cost in 1994-95 of implementing in full the recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body from 1 April 1994, which were higher than for any other of the report groups, would be some £206,000,000. Staging of the award with all personnel receiving an increase of 2.7 per cent. on 1 April and the balance of the award on 1 January 1995, is estimaed to cost £166,000,000 in 1994-95. The saving is therefore £40,000,000.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to review pay, allowances, and terms of employment for service personnel ; and if he will make a statement ; (2) what plans he has for the appointment of an independent body who will review pay, allowances, and terms of employment for service personnel ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley : In the light of changes in military commitments and deployment patterns, plans are in hand for a major independent review of service career and manpower structures and terms and conditions of service, to ensure that we have arrangements which are appropriate to the early part of the 21st century. We envisage that a review team comprising an independent Chairman and some three or four independent members should undertake such a study, which is expected to last about a year. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, hopes to make appointments to the team shortly. The Armed Forces Pay Review Body will separately make recommendations to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the normal way on the levels of service pay in 1995-96.
Mr. Hanley : The MOD like other Government Departments, has introduced a system of performance related pay for its civilian staff based on overall annual staff report markings. This has been entirely achieved by the effective use of my Department's manpower and expertise, as well as through consultation with other
Column 362Government Departments undergoing the same process. The use of external management consultants was unnecessary.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 7 February 1994] : My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence has one paper shredding machine in his private office. Records of the number of such machines in my Department are not held centrally and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 7 February 1994] : In common with many other Defence accommodation stores, curtains are purchased on a tri- service basis ; expenditure on those bought for the RAF is not recorded separately and could not be made available without disproportionate cost.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much money has been spent on improving accommodation assigned to (a) commanding officers, (b) other officers and (c) other ranks at RAF Innsworth in each year for the last three years ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 7 February 1994] : At RAF Innsworth, in financial year 1992-93 some £38,000 was spent on improving accommodation assigned to commanding officers and some £7,000 on improving accommodation assigned to other officers ; there was no such expenditure on accommodation assigned to other ranks. There was no expenditure on improving accommodation in financial year 1991-92 and there has been no such expenditure in financial year 1993-94.
Dr. David Clark : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what money has been spent on new curtains for Ministry of Defence property near Cheltenham known as Haymes Garth in each of the last three years ;
(2) how much money has been spent on improving Ministry of Defence property near Cheltenham known as Haymes Garth in each of the last three years.
Mr. Hanley [holding answer 7 February 1994] : Expenditure at Haymes Garth in financial year 1991-92 comprises some £3,000 on maintenance ; in financial year 1992-93 comprised some £250,000 on maintenance,
Column 363fittings and improvements, which included some £33,000 on new curtains and window treatments and some £31,000 on improvements to the property. There has been no such expenditure in Financial Year 1993-94.
Mr. Peter D. Carr, CBE--chairman
Miss Harriet Dawes--deputy chairman
Mr. Ron Amy
Mrs. Rosemary Brown
Mr. Robin Ellison
Mr. Alan Herbert
Mr. Andrew Lyburn
Mr. Alan Pickering
Mr. William Ramsay
Mr. Martin Slack
Mr. Ken Thomas
Miss Patricia Triggs
Professor J. M. Harrington CBE, chairman--Professor of occupational health, university of Birmingham.
Mr. P. E. Arscott OBE--Health and safety consultant.
Dr. J. Asherson--Head of health and safety and land use, CBI. Miss J. C. Brown--Independent researcher in social policy. Mrs. J. Carter--Member of TUC general council.
Professor M. J. Cinnamond--Professor of otorhinolaryngology, Queen's university of Belfast.
Dr. D. N. M. Coggon--Reader in occupational and environmental medicine, MRC environmental epidemiology unit.
Professor A. D. Dayan--Professor of toxicology, St. Bartholomews hospital medical college.
Dr. C. P. Juniper--Senior medical adviser, Unilever plc. Mr. T. Mawer-- Lawyer.
Professor A. J. Newman Taylor OBE--Consultant physician, National Heart and Lung Institute.
Mr. R. Pickering--National president, GMB.
Dr. L. Rushton--Senior lecturer in medical statistics, university of Nottingham.
Dr. C. Taylor--Chief medical officer, British Steel.
Column 364Mr. O. D. Tudor--Assistant secretary, TUC.
Mrs. M. Twomey--Member of TUC.
Mr. Burt : My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State appoints the chief adjudication officer, CAO, and the chief child support officer, CCSO. Mr. Ken Bellamy CBE, a full-time civil servant, is currently appointed as both CAO and CCSO. He heads Central Adjudication Services and is responsible for the recruitment of his support staff, who are also civil servants.
Mr. Matthew Taylor : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what was the (a) budgeted and (b) actual expenditure by his Department on (1) internal and (2) overseas travel by the Secretary of State in 1992-93 after 11 April 1992 and so far in 1993-94.
Mr. Hague : The travel and subsistence budget for all Department of social security Ministers and their private office staff was set at £364,817 for 1992-93 and £381,234 for 1993-94. There is not a separate allocation for my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State within that.
Actual expenditure on the Secretary of State's travel within this country was £512.50 between 11 April 1992 and 10 April 1993 and £349.30 from 11 April 1993 to date. The expenditure on overseas travel for the same periods was £4,788.51 and £184.54 respectively. In addition, the Secretary of State has the use of a car from the Government car service. The cost of this service was £48,642.40 for 1992-93 and £37,425.50 for 1993-94 up to the end of December 1993.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims for sickness and incapacity benefits were referred to the regional medical services in each quarter since January 1992 ; how many of these cases resulted in medical examinations ; and what were the outcomes (a) where examinations took place and (b) where they did not.
|March |June |September|December |March |June |September |1992 |1992 |1992 |1992 |1993 |1993 |1993 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Total references cleared |222,000 |201,000 |219,000 |227,000 |225,000 |210,000 |262,000 Where examinations took place |76,000 |76,000 |75,000 |78,000 |72,000 |65,000 |87,000 Capable of alternative work |15,000 |14,000 |15,000 |15,000 |18,000 |19,000 |28,000 Capable of normal occupation |9,000 |10,000 |9,000 |11,000 |8,000 |6,000 |6,000 Incapable of work after examination |52,000 |51,000 |51,000 |51,000 |46,000 |40,000 |52,000 No examination |146,000 |125,000 |144,000 |149,000 |153,000 |145,000 |176,000 Incapable of work-not examined |128,000 |106,000 |125,000 |130,000 |134,000 |127,000 |152,000 Failed to attend examination |15,000 |16,000 |16,000 |16,000 |16,000 |15,000 |20,000 Claim terminated before examination |4,000 |4,000 |3,000 |2,000 |3,000 |3,000 |4,000 Notes: 1. Based upon a 100 per cent. count of cases, rounded to the nearest thousand. 2. Figures for England and Wales include severe disablement allowance references.
Column 365marked for his personal attention ; if he will make it his policy to ensure that letters to him are not referred to the chief executives of executive agencies ; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Burt : Next steps agency chief executives are asked to reply on operational matters of their agencies and on subjects for which they have delegated responsibility, as set out in the agency's framework document. Before letters are transferred to chief executives they are always seen by Ministers to decide whether or not a ministerial response is appropriate.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what is his estimate of the number of women who could have received 25 per cent. retirement pension for some years before their husbands retired if they had revoked their election timeously and paid modest class 1 contributions.
Dr. Lynne Jones : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) in what circumstances the Benefits Agency informs citizens of gaps in their contributions ; and if it is practice to inform citizens in time to make up these contributions before the year in which they reach pensionable age ;
(2) what policy or guidelines his Department has laid down for the executive agency on advising married women who have elected to pay reduced contributions about the state of their contribution record ; (3) if he will issue new instructions that married women or widows paying reduced contributions are advised about their records several years before reaching pensionable age in order to be in time to make a choice on changing to full contributions.
Mr. Hague : Approximately 18 months after the end of each tax year the Contributions Agency issues statements to those people who, according to their records, have paid insufficient national insurance contributions for that year to count towards entitlement for the basic state retirement pension or widows pension.
The statement gives details about the amount of voluntary contributions the person needs to pay to make up the deficiency for that year. Voluntary contributions must be paid within six years of the end of the tax year in question, but in any case they should be paid before the date of claim to retirement pension in order to maximise benefit entitlement.
The statements are targeted towards those who are most likely to benefit from information about the deficiency in their contribution record. There are therefore a number of circumstances where the statements are not issued, for example where the person is aged 59 or over for a woman or aged 64 or over for a man, where no currrent address is held or the person is known to be abroad or where no contributions were received for the year in question and the preceding year. Even so, the latest issue entailed some 3.5 million statements.
Married women who have elected to pay reduced rate contributions were exercising a free choice, no longer
Column 366available, and would usually expect to rely on their husband's national insurance contribution record in order to qualify for a basic retirement pension. The implications of that choice were set out in an explanatory leaflet accompanying the election form. This Department does not inform such women of deficiencies in their contribution record because they have exercised a choice not to pay standard rate contributions. It is however open to any person, including women who have elected to pay reduced rate contributions, to request information about their contribution record or a forecast of their expected state retirement pension from the Benefits Agency. If a woman has elected to pay reduced rate contributions, the pension forecast will tell her that if she wishes to improve her benefit position by paying more years of full conrtributions, she will have to cancel her election to pay reduced rate contributions. From then on she would be able to pay contributions which do count towards retirement pension, subject always to her achieving a minimum entitlement of 25 per cent.
The Department is continually looking at ways of developing procedures to make information even more readily available to people about benefits and contributions.
Mr. Etherington : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will list, for each year since 1989, by institution or individual the total level of award, all research grants awarded by the DSS/DHSS which have involved research into occupational diseases.
Mr. Scott : Since 1989 this Department has commissioned one piece of research into occupational diseases, a study of lung cancer risk in pottery, refractory and sandstone workers. The value of the award is £36,400 to the department of occupational medicine at the National Heart and Lung Institute, and the centre for occupational health at the university of Manchester. Further details are in the Department's research yearbook, for 1992-93, copies of which are available in the Library.
Mr. Scott : Last year, the Government announced a long-term review of social security expenditure. Under the long-term review, each part of the social security programme will be examined to ensure that the objectives are right for the 1990s. Nothing is exempt from that review.
Mr. Bayley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 19 January, Official Report, column 628, how many Christmas cards he and his Ministers sent out in 1993 ; and at what cost.
Mr. Bradley : To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will publish the results of studies carried out in the course of developing the new incapacity for work test for incapacity benefit.