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Correspondence

Mr. Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when the hon. Member for Walsall, North will receive a reply to his letter dated 2 November concerning constituents: reference POH(2)5608/16. [63177]

Mr. Milburn: I replied to my hon. Friend today.

Councillors

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list the local authorities which have informed him about the number and percentage of men and women councillors; if he will give the number and percentage of men and women councillors in each case; and if he will list those local authorities which have not informed him. [63254]

Ms Jowell: Copies of the information requested have been placed in the Library.

DEFENCE

Service Women (Compensation)

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the costs of compensating servicewomen who left the services as a consequence of pregnancy (a) in each year since 1990 and (b) in the coming financial year. [62180]

Mr. Doug Henderson: Compensation payments to Servicewomen who left the Armed Forces because of pregnancy began in August 1992. Payments followed applications to industrial tribunals after the High Court ruled that to discharge women from the Armed Forces on the grounds of pregnancy was in breach of the European Equal Treatment Directive. The following amounts in compensation were awarded in each of the financial years shown:

Financial YearAmount (£)
1992-19931,653,931
1993-19946,980,274
1994-199535,611,282
1995-199611,762,089
1996-19972,803,571
1997-1998948,572
1998-1999 (to 30 November 1998)520,063

No further compensation will be paid in the remainder of 1998-1999 or in 1999-2000, as all claims have now been settled.


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Departmental Staff

Mr. Robert Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the special advisers in his Department and the issues on which they specialise; and to what level they have been security cleared. [62842]

Mr. George Robertson: The two Special Advisers employed by my Department are Alasdair McGowan and Bernard Gray.

They advise me on the full range of issues for which I am responsible. They are subject to the usual security clearance arrangements.

Gulf War Veterans

Mr. Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information is made available to doctors treating Gulf War veterans in relation to any exposure they may have had to materials which may have been toxic or hazardous, with particular reference to depleted uranium. [63033]

Mr. Doug Henderson: Any Gulf veteran who is concerned that his or her health has been adversely affected by Service during the Gulf conflict, including possible exposure to depleted uranium (DU), is entitled to seek a referral to the MOD's Medical Assessment Programme (MAP) for a full medical assessment. During this assessment, MAP patients receive a standard set of tests and are asked by the examining MAP physician to provide detailed information about possible factors, including DU, to which they may have been exposed during the Gulf conflict. Following the assessment, the examining physician will write to the doctor who referred the patient to the programme, to provide diagnostic information and recommend any appropriate treatment. It is then that doctor's responsibility to take forward and monitor the treatment as he or she would for any other patient. For veterans who have left the Armed Forces, their doctor will normally be a GP and any recommended treatment will therefore be carried out within the NHS.

In consultation with the Department of Health and the health departments of the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Offices, the Ministry of Defence has produced an information pack with the intention of providing General Practitioners and other health professionals with information which they may find useful in dealing with Gulf veterans' health concerns. This pack includes summaries of what is known about a number of possible factors to which veterans may have been exposed during their service in the Gulf, including DU. It also includes an overview of research which has been carried out in areas related to Gulf veterans' illnesses, together with a bibliography of key papers. The information pack has been placed on the MOD's internet site and is available in hard copy on request. My Department is currently considering how best to ensure further than this information reaches its target audience. A copy of the pack has been placed in the Library of the House.

Scammel Commander Tank Transporters

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if Scammel Commander tank transporters loaded with Challenger I and Challenger II tanks meet the regulatory

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requirements in (a) Holland and (b) Germany; how many infringements have been reported in 1998; and if he will make a statement. [62072]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 8 December 1998]: Formal clearance is sought from both the Dutch and German authorities when moving these vehicles along specified routes and at agreed times. There have been no infringements of the requirements.

Sennybridge Army Field Training Centre

Mr. Livsey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the (a) chemicals used (i) for ground maintenance and (ii) in the training of troops in chemical warfare and (b) training activities that took place on each day between 1 and 9 September at Sennybridge Army Field Training Centre. [62654]

Mr. Doug Henderson [holding answer 9 December 1998]: A number of non-toxic chemicals are used at Sennybridge Army Field Training Centre (AFTC) for the purposes of ground maintenance and training troops in chemical defence.

The approved chemicals used for ground maintenance are ROUNDUP, GARALON, and occasionally ASULOX.

During exercises to train troops for defence against chemical warfare, white smoke, CS Gas (Orthoclorobenzlidenmalononitrile), Chemical Agent Training Mixture Polyethyleneglycol 300, and Amyl Acetate are used, the latter to prove respirators prior to use.

The Nuclear Biological and Chemical Battle Run, the area of Sennybridge Training Area used for training in chemical defence, was used by 3 Commando Brigade, the Royal Marines for training on 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8 September 1998. The remainder of the training centre was used for a number of infantry patrolling, live firing, and other tactical training exercises over the period in question.

Missiles (China)

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if the acquisition by China of land-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles and long-range cruise missiles was taken into account in the Strategic Defence Review. [62921]

Mr. George Robertson: Yes. These issues were fully considered in the Strategic Defence Review (Cm 3999) published in July 1998.

Regiments and Bands

Mrs. Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which regiments will be available to participate in the ceremonies for the opening of the Scottish Parliament; and what plans he has to ensure prominence is given to Scottish regiments and bands based in Scotland in the procession and ceremonies. [63304]

Mr. George Robertson: Initial planning has only recently begun for the ceremonies to mark the opening of the Scottish Parliament and it is not yet possible to confirm which regiments will participate. However, the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the 1st Battalion The Black Watch will be assigned to public duties in Scotland during the summer of 1999 and it is likely that the soldiers who take part in the opening

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ceremony will be drawn from these regiments. It is anticipated that music for the occasion will be provided by Scottish military bands.

Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Mr. Borrow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the terms of reference for the Armed Forces Pay Review Body. [63669]

Mr. George Robertson: The Terms of Reference for the Armed Forces Pay Review Body have been revised, as follows, to reflect the key considerations of the Comprehensive Spending Review White Paper.

The role of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body is to provide independent advice to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence on the remuneration and charges for members of the Naval, Military and Air Forces of the Crown.

In reaching its recommendations, the Review Body is to have regard to the following considerations:



    Government policies for improving the public services, including the requirement on the Ministry of Defence to meet the output targets for the delivery of departmental services;


    the funds available to the Ministry of Defence as set out in the Government's departmental expenditure limits;


    the Government's inflation target.

The Review Body shall have regard for the need for the pay of the Armed Forces to be broadly comparable with pay levels in civilian life.

The Review Body shall, in reaching its recommendations, take account of the evidence submitted to it by the Government and others. The Review Body may also consider other specific issues as the occasion arises.


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