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Valerie Davey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if depleted uranium has been used by (a) US and (b) British forces in Afghanistan. 
Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on 5 November 2001, Official Report, columns 2728W, to the hon. Member for North Tayside (Pete Wishart).
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the pension paid is to (a) a retired Gurkha and (b) a similar ranking British ex-service man, in money terms and as a percentage; 
Dr. Moonie: Because of their different engagements and career structures, comparing Gurkha and British solider pensions in this way is particularly difficult. 87 per cent. of Gurkhas are discharged in Nepal after 15 years' service and receive an immediate pension. British soldiers discharged at this time would receive no pension until they reached the age of 60.
The only British and Gurkha rank likely to be discharged at the same point of service is a Warrant Officer Class 1 after 22 years. In this instance, a Gurkha receives an immediate annual pension of £1,672, or 16 per cent. of the £10,283 paid to comparable British ex-servicemen. The difference reflects the Tripartite Agreement between the Governments of the United Kingdom, Nepal and India, and the cost of living in Nepal, where all Gurkhas are discharged. In the Nepalese economy, Gurkha pensions now compare favourably with professional salaries.
The way in which Gurkha ex-service men receive their pensions depends upon the region in which they live. Those based to the main population centres in Nepal are able to receive their pension either directly into bank accounts or from one of the three Pension Paying Offices
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in Kathmandu, Pokhara and Itahari. These are manned on a full-time basis and the majority of ex-Gurkhas opt to receive their pension this way.
Nepal has poor communications, however, and we recognise that the arrangements above do not cater for residents of the more rural and remote areas. For this reason, Gurkha pensions are also paid quarterly, in cash, via Area Welfare Centres. There are 24 of these located throughout Nepal, but concentrated near the main ex-Gurkha populations centres where there are often no banking facilities. Nepal's topography, inclement weather and poor infrastructure, means that it is inevitable that some pensioners will still have to undertake long journeys in order to collect their pension. These difficulties are minimised as far as possible and, where necessary, special arrangements are put in place to enable pensions to be collected on behalf of the sick or infirm.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent the withdrawal by Italy from the A400M project will mean a change in contribution from the UK; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 6 November 2001]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 6 November 2001, Official Report, column 130W. If Italy stands by the decision it took last month not to continue with the A400M programme at present, the total number of aircraft in the initial order will fall from 212 to 196.
The final price of the A400M aircraft has yet to be agreed with the contractor. While it is reasonable to assume that such a reduction in overall aircraft numbers will increase our contribution to programme costs, reductions achieved in other aspects of the price negotiation may counterbalance that increase. Accordingly, we do not expect to identify a discrete cost increase associated with Italian withdrawal, should that be confirmed in due course.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much extra funding is needed for the next phase of the UK's Future Aircraft Carrier programme; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: We are currently discussing the CVF procurement strategy with both candidate prime contractors, BAE Systems and Thales Naval Ltd. We hope to be in a position to make an announcement about the way forward in the next few weeks. It would, therefore, be inappropriate for me to comment on funding for the programme at this time.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the compensation he proposes to pay to (a) Army pensioners, (b) Army widows and (c) estates which have wrongly had income tax deducted by his Department from their invalidity pensions. 
Dr. Moonie: Individuals wrongly taxed receive a refund of tax and an extra amount as compensation for the delay. The Inland Revenue calls this additional payment a repayment supplement. The Income Corporation Taxes
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Act 1988 (Section 824) governs the way the Inland Revenue calculates the repayment supplement. The precise formula is set out in Statutory Instrument No 1297 of 1989.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what action he will take to identify (a) Army pensioners, (b) Army widows and (c) estates which have wrongly had income tax deducted by his Department from their invalidity pensions. 
Dr. Moonie: Following the discovery of a taxation error affecting Army invaliding pensions in 1998, we have manually trawled through individuals' pension files, including widows and dependants, and publicised the matter through the ex-service organisations and the War Widows Association. This publicity has included articles in their journals and circulars. All those identified as being incorrectly taxed, except a small number currently under investigation, have received a full refund with compensation. The Ministry of Defence has no plans to undertake further action on this matter.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria he uses to determine whether Territorial Army personnel are fit for role. 
Dr. Moonie: Individual members of the Territorial Army (TA) are considered fit for role when they have completed two phases of training. Phase 1 is recruit training, which is either delivered in a two-week package or over a series of weekends. Phase 2 is to prepare them to a standard at which they can train with their unit, and this phase will vary in length depending on an individual's role and trade.
Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library documents relating to studies concerning the lowering of VAT for home repairs and renovations undertaken by his Department in the last five years. 
Mr. Boateng: It would be inappropriate to publish research relating to internal policy analysis, in accordance with exemption 2 of the code of practice on access to government information.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in respect of offences concerning excise duties in the single market how many people were sentenced; what were the total of sentences passed, broken down by months; what the total sum of (a) court fines and costs and (b) compound settlements was; how many vehicles were seized; and how much was paid for restoration in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) 200102 to date. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: For vehicle seizures in 19992000, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer the Paymaster General gave on 15 January 2001, Official Report, column 125W, and for 200001 and 200102, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave
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him on 30 October 2001, Official Report, column 624W. Information for 19992000, in relation to excise duties or the single market, on how many people were sentenced, what the total of sentences passed was, broken down by months, what the total sum of fines, costs and compound penalties were is contained in the Customs and Excise annual report for 19992000, presented to Parliament in March 2000. The same information for 200001 will be published in the Customs and Excise annual report for 200001, which will be published shortly. The figures for 200102 are not yet available.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases of strategic exports to (a) strategic and (b) other destinations were detected by HM Customs and Excise in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) 200102 to date. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: The number of detections of strategic and proliferation goods to sensitive and other destinations during the financial years 19992000 and 200001 were as follows:
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|To other destinations|
The figures for 200102 are not yet available.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people were searched by HM Customs and Excise officers under section 164 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979 in (a) 19992000, (b) 200001 and (c) 200102 to date. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: Figures for 200001 and 200102 are not yet available. In 19992000, HM Customs and Excise conducted 19,246 searches under section 164 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many cases of exports involving breaches of UN sanctions were detected by Customs and Excise in (a) 19992000, (b) 200001 and (c) 200102 to date. 
Mr. Boateng [holding answer 5 November 2001]: The number of exports in breach of UN sanctions detected by HM Customs and Excise during the financial years 19992000 and 200001 were 27 and 38 respectively. Figures for 200102 are not yet available.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what was the value of revenue evasion (a) generally, (b) of customs duties and (c) of common agricultural policy export refunds, that were prevented by HM Customs and Excise in (i) 19992000, (ii) 200001 and (iii) 200102. 
Mr. Boateng: The total VAT and excise revenue evasion prevented by Customs and Excise in 19992000 was published in the Customs and Excise annual report.
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For the year 200001, the figure will be published in the Customs and Excise annual report that will be published in due course.
HM Customs and Excise does not calculate the revenue evasion prevented for customs duties and common agricultural policy export refunds.
Mr. Lidington: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many (a) people were sentenced and (b) prison sentences were passed, broken down by month and what was the total of (i) court fines and costs and (ii) company settlements in respect of Customs and Excise non-fiscal prohibitions and restrictions in (1) 19992000, (2) 200001 and (3) 200102. 
Mr. Boateng: This information can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
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