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Health Authority Merger

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to merge the Somerset health authority and the Dorset health authority; and if he will make a statement. [3051]

Ms Blears: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced in April 2001 that the existing health authorities would be disestablished and replaced by new strategic health authorities. Public consultation on the boundaries of the new strategic health authorities will take place later this year.


Army Personnel Centre

Dr. Vis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what key targets have been set for the chief executive of the Army Personnel Centre for financial year 2001–02. [3803]

Mr. Ingram: The chief executive of the Army Personnel Centre has been set the following key targets for 2001–02:

Suez (Medals)

Mr. Kidney: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received concerning a general service medal for those who served in the Suez Canal Zone between 1951 and 1954. [2382]

Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Bennett) on 9 July 2001, Official Report, column 361W.

Stanoc Centre

Mr. Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list (a) the military units, (b) UK police forces, (c) UK authorities, agencies and private organisations and (d) overseas customers who have been advised by the Stanoc Centre over the past year. [3015]

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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 10 July 2001]: The Surveillance, Target Acquisition, Night Observation and Counter-surveillance (STANOC) centre has provided assistance to the following organisations since June 2000:

NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative

Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative since the Washington Summit in 1999. [2531]

Mr. Hoon: NATO's Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI) aims to give the Alliance the capabilities it needs to be fully effective across the range of its missions. The initiative comprises some 59 Decisions. Of these, 21 are well on track. The UK is pressing for an intensified programme of work on the DCI over the coming months. The UK's own DCI performance has been strong, with some 60 per cent. of DCI-related Force Goals being fully implemented and a further 30 per cent. being partially implemented. This reflects capability enhancements such as the introduction of the C17 strategic transport aircraft, the acquisition of a greater sealift capability and development and procurement of new precision guided munitions.

Japanese Internees (Compensation)

Mrs. Lait: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many compensation payments to internees in Japanese wartime prison camps have yet to be paid; how many have been paid; how many are being investigated; and how many of these are on grounds of the need to prove nationality. [2706]

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Dr. Moonie: As at 6 July a total of 21,552 ex-gratia payments had been made to former internees and surviving spouses. A further 186 payments had been authorised but not yet paid. 3,364 applications are being investigated to confirm eligibility, of which 411 are on the grounds of proving nationality.

Mr. Nicholas Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes there have been to the definition of "British" when applied to civilians eligible for Her Majesty's Government's ex-gratia payments to former prisoners of war and internees of the Japanese from 1941 to 1945 since 7 November 2000; and if he will make a statement. [2672]

Dr. Moonie: The ex-gratia payment announced on 7 November 2000 is being made to the various British groups who had been held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War. The eligibility criterion for civilian claimants has recently been clarified, but there has been no change in the intended scope of the scheme. British subjects whom the Japanese interned and who were born in the United Kingdom, or had a parent or grandparent born here, are eligible for the payment.


Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the recent disturbance in the sovereign base areas in Cyprus. [R] [2978]

Mr. Ingram: The Government deplore absolutely the violence and vandalism that took place in the sovereign base areas in Cyprus on Tuesday evening. We have made, and will continue to make, every effort to demonstrate to the Government of Cyprus and the villagers of Akrotiri that the current and proposed antennae on the Salt Lake pose no threat to health and have a minimal impact on the environment.

Mr. Dismore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the status of the border between the Republic of Cyprus and sovereign base areas after Cyprus's accession to the EU. [R] [2977]

Mr. Ingram: The Government are considering carefully all the implications for the sovereign base areas of the accession by Cyprus to the EU. Our consideration of these matters has not yet reached its conclusion.


Mr. Randall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) equipment and (b) personnel his Department has provided to the Government of Macedonia since 1 January. [2823]

Mr. Hoon: We have given the Macedonian Government 500 pieces of body armour, 15 mine detectors and 100 handheld Global Positioning Systems. In addition, we will be providing one remote control bomb disposal vehicle and 1,000 parachute flares.

In March this year at the start of the crisis we sent out a small team of eight military officers for five days to assess how we might assist the Macedonian Government. Two of these officers remained for a limited period to provide support to the UK Defence Adviser to the Macedonian Government (Brigadier James Short); their

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role was to provide assistance with planning. At present, a military officer is working alongside Brigadier Short providing operational advice.

Pensions (Politically Sensitive Cases)

Mr. Webb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 28 June 2001, Official Report, column 132W, on pensions, if he will place in the Library a copy of the wording of the guidance both before and after the amendment was made. [3214]

Dr. Moonie: It is not current practice to place individual items from the guidance manuals in the Library. However, arrangements are being made to place a copy of the current War Pensions Medical Advisers Instructions and Procedures Guide in the Library, together with a copy of the amendment.

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