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a. Those administered as a matter of peacetime routine--these are only administered when in-date immunity has lapsed:
Hepatitis B--medical staff only
b. Those administered to combat natural disease threats specific to the area of deployment:
Meningococcal Meningitis--medical staff and personnel in day-to-day contact with host nation personnel
c. Anti-biological warfare vaccines. Details of the specific medical countermeasures employed by British forces against
Column 58the potential biological warfare threat during Operation Granby remain classified.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why it was considered necessary to vaccinate Her Majesty's forces serving in Operation Granby against plague and not botulism toxoid; and what account was taken of the policy of the United States Department of Defence on the subject.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list details of the names and specific expertise of the medical specialists examining members and former members of the armed forces who have complained of suffering from desert war syndrome.
Mr. Soames: At present, all members and former members of the armed forces who come forward for medical assessment in connection with the alleged Gulf war syndrome are seen initially by Wing Commander W. J. Coker OBE BA BSc MB ChB FRCP, consultant physician at Princess Alexandra's RAF hospital, Wroughton. Dependent upon the results of these initial examinations, the patient may be referred to an appropriate military or civilian specialist for further investigation.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it is an authorised practice to administer whooping cough vaccine together with anthrax vaccine; and what was the reason for administering this combination to Her Majesty's forces taking part in Operation Granby.
Mr. Soames: All vaccines administered to military personnel in the Gulf war of 1990 91 were licensed. Civilian vaccine product licences do not, however, cover prophylactic use against a biological warfare threat, but those administered to United Kingdom troops for this purpose were licensed for similar civilian use in their country of origin.
Mr. Soames: At the United Kingdom French summit on Friday 18 November, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, and his French counterpart, launched a new initiative aimed at increasing
Column 59significantly the ability of the air forces to operate together on a range of future operations. This common venture will be known as the Franco-British Euro Air Group and will be based at High Wycombe.
Mr. Soames: My Department continues to play a major part in the work of the chemical weapons convention preparatory commission, and our national preparations for entry into force are well advanced. We intend to ratify the chemical weapons convention as soon as possible.
Letter from M. A. Bittleston to Dr. David Clark, dated 21 November 1994:
The Defence Secretary has asked me to respond to your Parliamentary Question which asked for a breakdown of the Meteorological Office's hospitality expenditure for the financial year 1993 94.
As you would expect the total sum of £25,206 is made up by a host of quite small items, most of which were incurred in the course of winning some £16 million worth of commercial business and maintaining in international fora the standing of the Office as a world class science- based organisation.
I have therefore grouped together in the Annex to this letter the main constituent items.
1. The main categories of hospitality expenditure for the Meteorological Office for the financial year 1993 94 were:
|£ ------------------------------------------------------------------ Commercial Hospitality |8,545 Reciprocal International Hospitality |4,712 Academic Interchanges |3,336 Recruitment and Training |3,191 Government, Local Government and Advisers |Hospitality Miscellaneous |3,422 Total |25,206
Mr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contracts have been placed by his Department under the no acceptable price, no contract initiative; what was their total value in each of the years since the initiative was introduced; and what criteria are used to evaluate the success of the procurement initiatives.
Mr. Freeman: The no acceptable price, no contract initiative was introduced on 1 July 1992. Two hundred and forty-two contracts have been let under the initiative to 31 July 1994. In the 13-month period from 1 July 1992 to 31 July 1993 a total of 46 contracts were placed, valued at £886 million. During the year 1 August 1993 to 31 July
Column 601994 a further 196 contracts were let, with a total value of £2,996 million.
The initiative improves the timeliness of our non-competitive risk pricing. The initiative is a success in the context of the significant increase in the value of work priced before contract placement and industry has not demurred at this approach. Nevertheless, it has still to be proven whether estimating accuracy is maintained. This will be determined by the cost audit of those contracts selected for post-costing examination.
Mr. Soames: The administration of vaccines or the provision of drugs to service personnel would normally be undertaken on the basis of informed consent. In certain circumstances, refusal to receive treatment could lead to disciplinary action.
Dr. David Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the estimated cost of (a) repairs an alterations and (b) air conditioning to his Department's headquarters in Whitehall for the (i) financial year 1994 95 and (ii) financial year 1995 96.
Mr. Soames: The estimated cost of repairs and alterations covering essential maintenance to my Department's main building in Whitehall is £2,462,000, including VAT, in the current financial year, and £2, 488,000, including VAT, in the financial year 1995 96. These costs cover works required mainly for health and safety reasons. There is some provision in these figures for the maintenance of essential air conditioning systems in the building.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received concerning the proposed relocation of the Defence Accounts Agency from Cheadle Hulme to Bath; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. Freeman: There is no proposal to relocate the whole of the Cheadle Hulme office to Bath. I have, however, received a number of representations from hon. Members about the proposal to bring together at Bath certain elements of the agency's computer work which are currently carried out at Liverpool, Cheadle Hulme and Bath.
Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many redundancies among his Department's personnel and civilian support staff would be expected in Cheadle Hulme should Defence Accounts Agency computing facilities be relocated to Bath; and what would be the cost of those redundancies.
Mr. Freeman: I expect to take a decision on the agency's mainframe rationalisation project early in the new year. It is too soon to anticipate the announcement I may have to make then on reductions in civilian posts.
Mr. Freeman: We continue to work actively towards ratification of the UN weaponry convention--protocol II of which contains strict rules governing the use of land mines--and intend to complete the process so as to be a full state party for next year's weaponry convention review conference. Meanwhile, we do, of course, adhere strictly to the provisions of the convention.
Mrs. Roche: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence during how many of the overseas visits made by Ministers in his Department between 1 January and 30 June those Ministers participated in fund-raising activities for the Conservative party; and if he will list the Ministers and the countries in which those activities took place.