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Mr. Quentin Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the possibility of acquiring advanced assault amphibious vehicles from the US for amphibious operations mounted from the Royal Navy's LPH or prospective LPDs and ALSLs; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Hoon: We have no current plans to procure Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAAVs), which are about to enter a second stage of prototype development for the US Marine Corps and are not due in service there until 2006. UK amphibious operations are conducted using landing craft (such as the Landing Craft Utility) and helicopters to land vehicles, material and personnel of the Amphibious Task Force from the Landing Platform Helicopter (LPH), Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) and Landing Ships Logistic (LSL). However, we continue to evaluate our amphibious requirements in the light of doctrinal developments, and are watching the AAAV programme with interest.
Mr. McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consultations his Department has undertaken with non-governmental organisations on the development of the Government's cross-departmental initiative on conflict resolution. 
Mr. Hoon: The Ministry of Defence has not held formal consultations with non-governmental organisations on the general development of the Government's cross-departmental initiative on conflict prevention. However, we maintain contact with non-governmental organisations and academic institutions in the field of conflict prevention, including peacekeeping. Together with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development, we will be expanding and developing these contacts as the cross-cutting strategy develops.
Dr. Moonie: The cost of storage of spent fuel from nuclear-powered submarines in each of the last five years from 1995 to 1999 inclusive was £2.6 million, £2.2 million, £1.9 million, £1.7 million and £1.3 million respectively (all at outturn prices including VAT).
Mr. Spellar: The system of regiments and related regimental associations is unique to the army. Men and women serving in the Royal Navy, Royal Marines and Royal Air Force can expect to serve in more than one unit, ship or squadron and their associations therefore tend to be Service-wide. In all three Services, however, details of the relevant associations and their functions are included in discharge papers. Arrangements for obtaining contact details are also provided.
Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will advise members of the armed forces who choose not to extend their service of details of the functions of regimental associations and how to join; and if he will make a statement. 
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Mr. Spellar: Although each Service has its own discharge procedures, each ensures that its personnel are informed of the existence and role of appropriate regimental, single-Service or tri-Service associations that can be joined.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many disabled people are employed as civilians by the armed forces; what the percentage in employment of disabled people is in the economy as a whole; and if he will make a statement on widening access to and participation by disabled people in such employment. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence employs over 5,900 people with disabilities, around 6 per cent. of the civilian workforce. This percentage is broadly in line with the estimated numbers of economically active disabled people in the working population as a whole. There are no restrictions on disabled people being employed in civilian jobs in the Ministry of Defence. The Department has participated in the Government's 'Positive about Disabled People' programme since 1995 and has developed its own comprehensive action plan to recruit more people with disabilities and help disabled employees develop their full potential at work.
Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he takes to encourage rehabilitation of service personnel who are seriously injured during the course of their duties, and to encourage their absorption into alternative civilian re-employment with the armed forces. 
Mr. Spellar: Members of the armed forces who are seriously injured in the course of their duties receive appropriate medical rehabilitation, either from the Defence Medical Services or the National Health Service. Those whose injuries lead to discharge from the armed forces on medical grounds are eligible for an extensive package of resettlement assistance provided by the Ministry of Defence, including help in obtaining civilian employment.
Mr. Hoon: The NATO Alliance maintains sub- strategic nuclear forces at the minimum level required for its security. Alliance policy is not to reveal details of the number and locations of such forces. We support that policy.
Mrs. Ann Cryer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent to which the contribution of nuclear-powered submarines to the proposed European Rapid Reaction Force is consistent with the Government's commitment to
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ensuring a diminishing role for nuclear weapons in security policies under the Non-Proliferation Treaty final document. 
Mr. Spellar: There is no such entity as a standing European Rapid Reaction Force. No nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines have been identified as part of our contribution to meeting the European Union headline goal. Nuclear-powered fleet submarines, which do not carry ballistic missiles, are not themselves considered to be nuclear weapons. Our contribution to the pool of forces and capabilities for EU-led crisis management tasks is fully consistent will Government policy on non-proliferation.
Mr. Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what restrictions prevent (a) wives and (b) children accompanying British servicemen posted overseas from (i) moving freely and (ii) crossing borders, without the permission of the serviceman or military authorities; and what steps are taken to explain the restrictions to those to whom they apply. 
Mr. Spellar: There is no such organisation as the Army Security Service. I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Army Security Patrol vehicles belonging to the newly established Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS).
Mr. Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received concerning requests from lawyers that former prisoners of war of the Japanese should pay them a contribution from the payment awarded by the Government; and if he will make a statement. [R] 
Dr. Moonie: As I made clear in my statement on 7 November 2000, the ex-gratia payment for British groups who were held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War will be made by the War Pensions Agency direct and in full to the eligible recipients. A number of representations have been received, mostly by the War Pensions Agency, about the reported approach to the expected recipients of the ex-gratia payment by a firm of lawyers seeking a contribution towards its costs. However, the terms of any agreement to make such a contribution are a matter for the parties concerned and not for HM Government.
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