4 Feb 2000 : Column: 741W

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 4 February 2000


Departmental Expenditure Limit

Mr. Illsley: To ask the Prime Minister what proposals he has to change the Cabinet Office Security and Intelligence Services Vote departmental expenditure limit for 1999-2000. [109085]

The Prime Minister: Subject to parliamentary approval of the necessary Supplementary Estimate, the departmental expenditure limit for Class XVII, Vote 2 will be increased by £26,030,000 from £742,947,000 to £768,977,000 and the gross running cost limit will be increased by £30,468,000 from £380,067,000 to £410,535,000.

The change is to effect transfers of £2,500,000 to the Ministry of Defence (Class VI, Vote 1) and £750,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Class II, Vote 1), the take up of running costs end year flexibility of £3,698,000 as announced by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 27 July 1999, Official Report, column 393W. It also provides for an increase in the departmental expenditure limit of £24,175,000 for services bought from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the reclassification of £10,280,000 from capital to other current expenditure and of £1,790,000 from annual managed expenditure to departmental expenditure limit.

There will be an increase in Appropriations in Aid of £5,651,000 and a net increase in other current expenditure of £4,942,000.

The increases in provision will be offset by transfers or increased receipts, or charged to the Reserve, and will not, therefore, add to the planned total of public expenditure.



Mr. Forth: To ask the Chairman of the Accommodation and Works Committee if he will list each unit of accommodation in the House indicating the persons to whom it is allocated. [108330]

Sir Sydney Chapman: I regret that the information requested is held on the parliamentary space audit database, and could be produced only at disproportionate cost. If my right hon. Friend has a particular query he wishes to raise, he should refer it to the Serjeant at Arms.

4 Feb 2000 : Column: 742W


Gulf War

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what arrangements for the award of war pensions and other forms of compensation apply to (a) military personnel and (b) British civilians (i) contracted and (ii) seconded to the forces who served in the war theatre during the Gulf conflict; [107279]

Mr. Spellar: For Armed Forces personnel, there are two schemes to compensate for death or injury caused by Service: the War Pension Scheme (WPS) administered by the DSS, and the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) administered by MOD. When both Departments accept that the death or injury is attributable to service, benefits are payable from both schemes. In addition to pension arrangements, compensation is also payable from the MOD if it can be proved that an individual's death or injury was caused by negligence by the Department. This compensation system is applied to injuries or death in wartime, but the Department is not required to pay common law compensation if the injury or death occurred where the claimant was actively engaging the enemy. Individuals injured or killed in this scenario receive benefits from the WPS and the AFPS.

In regard to civilians, civil servants are covered by the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). This provides for the payment of death and injury benefits to those who are killed or sustain injuries attributable to their duties. Civilians who are employees of contractors do not participate in the PCSPS (or the AFPS or WPS), but would be entitled to common law compensation where the Department was liable. MOD civil servants are also entitled to seek common law compensation from their employer.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British civilians (a) seconded and (b) contracted to Her Majesty's forces in the war theatre during the Gulf conflict were subsequently tested for (i) depleted uranium and (b) other uranium; and with what results. [107281]

Mr. Spellar: My Department's policy on testing Gulf veterans was published in "Testing for the presence of depleted uranium in UK veterans of the Gulf conflict: The Current Position" dated 19 March 1999, a copy of which is in the Library of the House. Under this policy, as at 31 January 2000, my Department had arranged for one civilian veteran's urine to be tested at two laboratories. The results from one laboratory using neutron activation methods showed that the uranium-235 concentration was less than 0.0053 micrograms per litre (g/l) of urine. The concentration of natural uranium was less than 0.73 g/l and that the concentration of depleted uranium (uranium -235 content of about 0.2 per cent.) was less than 2.6 g/l. This result represented the limits of detection by the method used. If uranium was present it was below these concentrations. The second laboratory's results using a different method (Laser Phosphorimetry)

4 Feb 2000 : Column: 743W

were that total uranium concentration was 0.0052 (+/- 0.00076) g/l. Both sets of test results show that uranium, in any form, is not a contributory factor to the patient's ill-health.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British civilians (a) seconded and (b) contracted to Her Majesty's forces in the war theatre during the Gulf conflict have subsequently suffered from (a) post-traumatic stress disorder, (b) nephrotic syndrome and (c) other kidney or renal problems. [107283]

Mr. Spellar: My Department has no mechanisms in place for routinely monitoring the health of its civilian employees, ex-employees, contractors' employees or foreign nationals. However, civilians who provided direct support to British Forces in theatre during the Gulf conflict can be referred by their GP for examination at the MOD's Medical Assessment Programme (MAP). As at 27 January 2000, 63 civilians who went to the Gulf had been seen by MAP physicians. Of these: two were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder; one had nephrotic syndrome; and none were diagnosed with kidney or renal problems, other than nephrotic syndrome.

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his estimate of the number of British civilians seconded or contracted to Her Majesty's Forces in the war theatre during the Gulf conflict who were exposed to uranium. [107303]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 February 2000]: We have no such estimate.

Nuclear Weapons

Ms Drown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps he is taking to inform Parliament of (a) the amount spent on nuclear weapons research and (b) plans for research or work on future nuclear weapons systems; [107597]

Mr. Hoon: Supporting Essay 5 of the Strategic Defence Review White Paper (Cm 3999) provided details of the costs of the nuclear warhead programme in 1997-98. Direct Trident Warhead Related Expenditure is expected to continue at around £120 million per annum (at 1998-99 prices) for the life of the system, of which some £70 million is in support of Research, Development and Capability Maintenance activities. Although research is aimed at stewardship of the Trident warhead, it also ensures the maintenance of a minimum capability to design and produce a successor should this prove necessary.

Exercise Winter Training

Mr. Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the number of individual places available on Exercise Winter Training in (a) 1997-98, (b) 1998-99 and 1999-2000. [107411]

4 Feb 2000 : Column: 744W

Mr. Spellar: The information requested is as follows:

YearNumber of places available

RAF Pilots

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours' flying time pilots completed in the RAF in each of the last five years, excluding operational flying. [107245]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 27 January 2000]: Trained RAF pilots completed the following flying hours:

YearsHours (1)Hours (2)Total hours

(1) Excluding operational flying

(2) Operational only

Next Section Index Home Page