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Women Senior Managers

Mr. Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many women there are in his Department in the top three senior management grades; and what these figures were 10 years ago. [121775]

Mr. Hain: As at 1 April 2000 there were eight women at JESP 13 and above, which equates to Grades 1-3, the top three senior management grades.

In 1990, the Department did not record the gender of those in the most senior grades. Figures for 1990 could therefore only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Women Graduates

Mr. Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many women graduates recruited into his Department in 1980 are still serving in his Department. [121715]

Mr. Hain: No women were recruited to the FCO in 1980 through the fast stream competition where candidates are required to have a degree. Women graduates may have been recruited into other grades, but in these cases information on whether or not they had a degree was not systematically recorded as possession of a degree was not a requirement for recruitment in most cases.

Iran

Mr. Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 8 May 2000, Official Report, columns 257-58W, if he raised the issue of legal proceedings concerning members of the Jewish community when he spoke to Iranian Foreign Minister Kharrazi on 28 April regarding the postponement of his visit to Iran; and what factors underlay his decision to postpone the visit. [121674]

Mr. Hain [holding answer 11 May 2000]: Further to my answer of 8 May 2000, Official Report, columns 257-58W, the Foreign Secretary has raised this issue on a number of occasions with Foreign Minister Kharrazi (including when

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he visited London in January), and with the Iranian ambassador. He did not discuss it or other foreign policy concerns during his telephone call to Foreign Minister Kharrazi on 29 April which focused exclusively on the postponement of his visit to Iran in the light of the situation in Zimbabwe.

Wine Expenditure

Mr. Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on (a) champagne and (b) other wine in each year since 1 May 1997. [121781]

Mr. Hain: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not maintain a comprehensive central record of these categories of expenditure. A comprehensive breakdown of expenditure could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Macedonia

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance his Department has provided to the British soldier Richard Hudson currently detained in Skopje jail in Macedonia; and if he will make a statement. [121956]

Mr. Hain: At the time of his arrest Mr. Hudson was working as a civilian sub-contractor for KFOR. He is not a member of HM armed forces.

Our consular staff in Macedonia have visited Mr. Hudson regularly since his arrest and will continue to do so during his detention. They have pursued every complaint or rumour of maltreatment, and taken up his case at the highest levels in the Macedonian Government.

Mr. Hudson has made an application for a transfer to a UK prison under the Council of Europe Transfer of Prisoners Agreement. We have passed his application to the UK prison service and to the Minister of Justice in Macedonia. We will continue to press the Macedonian Government for a quick decision.

British Overseas Territories Bill

Dr. Marek: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, pursuant to his answer of 5 May 2000, Official Report, column 240W, when he expects to conclude his consideration of the principles to be addressed in the Overseas Territories Bill. [121841]

Mr. Battle: We hope to conclude consideration of the principles to be addressed in the Overseas Territories Bill by the end of May this year.

SOCIAL SECURITY

War Pensions

Mrs. Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many former service personnel who participated in the nuclear tests programmes in Australia and the South Pacific have been awarded war pensions after they developed (a) leukaemia, excluding chronic lymphatic and (b) multiple myeloma; when was

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the first time that former service personnel were awarded war pensions after developing these illnesses; and if he will make a statement. [121615]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of the War Pensions Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency, Mr. Gordon Hextall. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Gordon Hextall to Mrs. Ann Winterton, dated 12 May 2000:


The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many former service personnel who participated in the nuclear tests programmes in Australia and South Pacific have been awarded war pensions after they developed (a) leukaemia, excluding chronic lymphatic and (b) multiple myeloma; when was the first time that former service personnel were awarded war pensions after developing these illnesses; and if he will make a statement.
The War Pensions Agency processes claims for war disablement and war widows' pensions and for associated supplementary allowances. Under the war pensions scheme, awards may be made in respect of any condition which is due to any service in the armed forces.
We do collect statistics of all claims for war pensions from British nuclear test veterans who believe that they might have been exposed during service to excessive radiation. However, these also include claims from personnel who served, for example, on nuclear submarines.
The statistics at 10th May 2000 are as follows:
Leukaemia: 9 cases (5 disablement, 4 widows)
Multiple myeloma: 13 cases (10 disablement, 3 widows)
You will wish to know that the background to these awards is that as a result of concern amongst some test participants about the effects that the participation may have on their health, the Ministry of Defence commissioned an independent study by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) in 1988 to investigate the subsequent health of participants. The study compared the mortality and cancer incidence in over 20,000 test participants with that of a similar-sized control group of ex-servicemen who had not participated in the test programme.
The 1988 NRPB Report and the Department's position
The NRPB Report published in 1988 confirmed that participation in the UK tests has not had a detectable effect on the participants' expectation of life, nor on their risk of developing cancer in general. It did, however, raise a reasonable doubt that leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) and multiple myeloma might be due to participation. Whilst the NBPB Report did not causally relate leukaemia and multiple myeloma specifically to participation in the nuclear weapons tests, its' evidence was nevertheless accepted as raising a reasonable doubt that leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) and multiple myeloma may have resulted from such participation. Thus, any claim for war pension in respect of disablement or death due to leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) and multiple myeloma was likely to succeed. This policy was effective from 28th January 1988.
The 1993 NRPB Report
The study was extended and the second NRPB Report was issued in 1993. This confirmed the overall conclusion of the 1988 Report, that participation in the tests had no detectable effect on the participants' expectation of life, nor on their risk of developing most cancers. It concluded that the small hazard of multiple myeloma suggested by the 1988 Report was not supported by the additional data, although the possibility of some small risk of developing leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) in the first 25 years after participation could not be ruled out.
As a result of this later Report, it is now the Secretary of State's normal policy to accept any new claim in respect of leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) if the participant developed the condition within 25 years of his participation in the tests. This change was effective from 11th December 1993. War Pensions

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already in payment to test participants or their widows in respect of disablement or death due to leukaemia (other than chronic lymphatic leukaemia) or multiple myeloma were not affected by that decision.
Evidence of service-related ionising radiation exposure
Should there be reliable evidence of service-related ionising radiation and where there is a recognised link between the claimed condition and such exposure, an award of war pension will be considered.
The Secretary of State does not accept evidence of participation in the nuclear tests as itself equating to proof of service-related ionising radiation exposure.
If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.

Mr. Welsh: To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security how many claims for war pensions by British nuclear test veterans have been (a) made and (b) awarded to date. [121303]

Mr. Bayley: The administration of the War Pensions Agency is a matter for the Chief Executive of the War Pensions Agency, Mr. Gordon Hextall. He will write to the hon. Member.

Letter from Gordon Hextall to Mr. Andrew Welsh, dated 12 May 2000:


The Secretary of State for Social Security has asked me to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many claims for war pension by British nuclear test veterans have been (a) made and (b) awarded to date.
The War Pensions Agency processes claims for war disablement and war widows' pensions, and for associated supplementary allowances. Under the war pensions scheme awards may be made in respect of any condition which is due to any service in the armed forces. Unfortunately, our statistics do not specifically record the number of claims from, and awards to, ex-service personnel whose service included participation in the British nuclear test programme. To obtain that precise information would require a clerical exercise which could only be carried out at disproportionate costs.
However, we do have statistics of claims for war pension from British nuclear test veterans who believe that they might have been exposed during service to excessive ionising radiation, but these include claims from personnel who served, for example, in nuclear submarines.
At 31st March 2000, these statistics record 1,228 claims which resulted in 467 awards, but these are for a miscellany of conditions, some of which have no connection to participation in the test programme.
If I can be of any further assistance, then please do not hesitate to contact me.


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