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Gulf War Syndrome

Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) blood, (b) biopsy and (c) tissue samples taken from any Gulf War veterans have been sent to Porton Down for tests; and what the results of such tests were. [148210]

Mr. Spellar [holding answer 1 February 2001]: A number of blood samples that were collected from the UK Service personnel during the Gulf conflict at various stages of the anti-biological warfare agent vaccination programme are currently stored at Chemical Biological Defence (CBD), Porton Down. These samples were analysed in 1991 with the aim of investigating the level of protection conferred by giving anthrax vaccine in combination with pertussis vaccine. The results of the study were given in a paper "Operation GRANBY: The effect of co-administration of the pertussis vaccine on specific antibody titre development to the anthrax vaccine in man", which was declassified and made publicly available on 28 October 1997.

There are 244 vials of sera held at CBD Porton Down. We know of another 38 vials that have been destroyed or lost. We have identified 188 donors of 245 of this total of 282 that we either have, or have been lost. In February and March 2000, all the donors who had been identified were contacted. The Ministry of Defence offered to send them the sample or to keep it at CBD Porton Down.

Apart from these blood samples, we have no records of other biological samples form Gulf veterans having been tested at CBD Porton Down. However, blood samples taken for the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP) at St. Thomas' Hospital, London, are either tested on site or sent to laboratories that have particular expertise in specific tests. Up until December

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2000, 0.5 ml of blood taken from Gulf veterans was sent to the Centre for Applied Microbiological Research (CAMR) at Porton Down for sandfly fever testing. CAMR is a Department of Health Special Health Authority. It is completely separate from CBD Porton Down, which is a Ministry of Defence facility.

HMS Tireless

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with Offshore Heavy Transport ASA regarding the return of HMS Tireless to the UK using a transporter ship. [148348]

Mr. Spellar: No discussions have been held with Offshore Heavy Transport ASA to return HMS Tireless to the UK using a transporter ship. I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Great Grimsby (Mr. Mitchell) on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 48W.

Equal Opportunities

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects women to serve as submariners; and if he will make a statement. [148171]

Mr. Hoon: The current medical advice is to the effect that women should not serve in submarines because no assurance can be given regarding the safety of a foetus due to the presence of contaminants in the submarine atmosphere. The medical advice on this question is kept under regular review and is in the process of being reassessed. Currently, there are no plans to change the policy of excluding women from the submarine service.

Combat Effectiveness and Gender Study

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Combat Effectiveness and Gender Study will be complete; and when he will publish its findings. [148344]

Mr. Hoon: The study into the effects of gender upon combat effectiveness will be completed later this year. An announcement will be made once Ministers have received the results and considered advice from the Chiefs of Staff.

Management Consultants

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on management consultants in each year since 1997. [148345]

Dr. Moonie: The Department's annual returns of expenditure on External Assistance, which include outside consultants, for the last five financial years are available in the Library of the House.

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Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which management consultancy firms have been contracted by his Department since May 1997; and how much has been paid to each of them. [148347]

Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally. It could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Depleted Uranium

Mr. Duncan Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which aircraft in service with the armed forces use depleted uranium for ballast; and if he will make a statement. [148349]

Mr. Spellar: The following aircraft contain depleted uranium:

We are continuing to investigate whether depleted uranium is also present in Gazelle helicopter tail rotor tip weights. I will write to the hon. Member to advise him of the outcome of this work.

Officers' Houses

Mr. Barry Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers' houses are now occupied by

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officers and families serving at RAF Sealand; how many are occupied by families of officers serving overseas; and if he will make a statement. [148520]

Dr. Moonie: A total of 23 properties at Little Roodee serve the requirements of those serving at RAF Sealand and the surrounding area. Of these properties nine are occupied by officers serving at RAF Sealand and their families; three are occupied by officers belonging to local units; one is occupied by the family of a Lieutenant Colonel who is serving overseas. Of the remaining properties, eight are occupied by other ranks serving at RAF Sealand and two are currently void.

All 23 properties were officers' quarters, but in 1997, it was agreed that nine of these would be redesignated to accommodate senior other ranks.


Government Grants (Central London)

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will list each category of grant, and the amount of each grant, paid by his Department to (a) Westminster and (b) Kensington and Chelsea in (i) 1997-98, (ii) 1998-99, (iii) 1999-2000 and (iv) 2000-01; and what the projected figure is for 2001-02. [146311]

Ms Beverley Hughes: The information requested is, as far as possible, given in the following table:

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£ million

London Borough of Westminster
(i) Revenue Support Grant(4)151.611125.687127.661127.047135.969
(ii) National Non-domestic42.62746.45252.37261.30162.783
(iii) SSA Reduction Grant0.00015.5808.5001.6240.000
(iv) Central Support Protection Grant(5)--(5)--4.2064.8660.000
(v) Housing Investment Programme (HIP)10.2757.5548.38525.53517.364
(vi) HIP Basic Credit Approval2.7894.4766.27122.722--
(vii) Single Regeneration Budget32.882(6)
(viii) Transport Supplementary Grant0.4720.4190.0000.0000.000
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea
(i) Revenue Support Grant66.64266.19666.19465.61069.350
(ii) National Non-domestic Rates33.80436.20340.46847.16748.567
(iii) SSA Reduction Grant8.4125.4873.1580.0000.000
(iv) Central Support Protection Grant(5)--(5)--1.1210.0000.000
(v) Housing Investment Programme (HIP)6.3585.7236.30616.39512.910
(vi) HIP Basic Credit Approval5.7574.1815.44716.263--
(vii) Single Regeneration Budget6.778
(viii) Transport Supplementary Grant0.4370.1960.2980.0000.000

(4) Figures supplied for 1997-98 and 1998-99 are based on the Local Government Finance Report (England) Amending Reports dated February 1999 and February 2000 respectively

(5) Grant introduced in 1999-2000

(6) Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) funding figures relate to the lifetime amount awarded to schemes since round three (round three being the 1997-98 award period). As these are lifetime figures this does not reflect the annual amount spent, rather the figures represent the amount paid plus the amount outstanding within the award. However where an award is agreed, in principle, funding is released on an annual basis and this release is dependent upon the total available budget at the time of the annual review Figures are given for those schemes where the relevant Borough Council is the Accountable Body. Funding may have been awarded to organisations within the borough, or working within the borough, over and above these figures. Figures provided reflect the amounts that were awarded directly to the Local Authority only--source London Development Agency.

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