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Ex Gratia Pension Payments

Chris Grayling: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make ex gratia pension payments to non-commissioned members of the armed forces who served prior to 1975 and did less than 22 years service. [18076]

Dr. Moonie: No. Priory to April 1975, there was no legal requirement for any public or private sector pension scheme to preserve pension rights for those who left service before reaching the normal retirement age. However, in the armed forces a pension could be paid after 22 years' reckonable service (16 years' reckonable service in the case of officers). Engagements for shorter periods were on non-pensionable terms, though gratuities were awarded to those who served less than the 22 years but had completed 12 years' reckonable service (nine years' in the case of officers). Most public and private sector pension schemes offered lesser benefits.

September 11

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what are the major changes in the Strategic

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Defence Review following (a) 11 September and (b) the campaign against international terrorism; and if he will make a statement. [17449]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Blaby (Mr. Robathan) on 29 October 2001, Official Report, column 509W.

Commonwealth War Graves

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of Commonwealth war graves in France in relation to the construction of the proposed new airport at Chaulnes. [18638]

Dr. Moonie: The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), which has the responsibility for the maintenance of the graves of all British and Commonwealth troops who died during the two world wars and the memorials to those who have no known grave, has asked the French Government to provide more details about the proposals.

If the proposals do appear to affect war graves cemeteries containing British and Commonwealth graves, the CWGC will firmly resist any plans to disturb the war dead.

Gibraltar

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what joint exercises have been held between UK and Spanish forces over the past five years; which have used facilities at Gibraltar; and if he will make a statement. [17975]

Mr. Ingram: The following exercises have been held between UK and Spanish forces over the past five years. None have used facilities at Gibraltar.

Exercise nameDateDescription
Britannia Way/Iberian FocusSeptember 1997Infantry company exchange exercise
Tapon 1998June 1998Maritime exercise
Britannia Way/Iberian FocusSeptember 1998Infantry company exchange exercise
Tapon 1999June 1999Maritime exercise
AlcudraJuly 1999Maritime exercise
Britannia Way/Iberian FocusSeptember 1999Infantry company exchange exercise
Britannia Way/Iberian FocusSeptember 2000Infantry company exchange exercise
Acrobatic SapperSeptember 2000Engineer exercise

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what UK forces visited Gibraltar (a) on their way to and (b) returning from (i) Exercise Saif Sareea and (ii) Operation Veritas; and if he will make a statement. [17981]

Mr. Ingram: The following UK forces visited Gibraltar on their outwards journey to the Middle East:


On the return journey from the Middle East, as of 21 November, the following UK forces have visited Gibraltar:


Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what UK forces are deployed in Gibraltar; and if he will make a statement. [17982]

Mr. Ingram: The UK retains a sizeable defence presence on Gibraltar, key elements of which are the Gibraltar regiment (staffed predominantly by Gibraltarians), the Gibraltar Squadron (which includes two coastal patrol vessels and two rigid hull inflatable boats) and the detachment at RAF Gibraltar, as well as Headquarters and support units. There are currently a total of around 427 UK-based military personnel deployed to Gibraltar.

RAF Halton

Mr. Lidington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 November 2001, Official Report, column 20W, on the Defence

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Estates, Aylesbury, which Government accounting rules require him to dispose of surplus sites as quickly as possible. [17807]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to Chapter 24 of paragraph 24.2.1 of Government Accounting, which outlines Treasury policy on the Disposal of Surplus Government Assets.

MOD Police

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been received from the US authorities towards the costs of MOD police activities in the financial year 2000–01. [17971]

Dr. Moonie: The financial arrangements governing the Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) presence at Ministry of Defence establishments made available to the US are covered by a Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and US Governments.

The total amount received from the US authorities towards the cost of MDP policing bases made available to the US authorities during the financial year 1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001 was £5.497 million.

TRADE AND INDUSTRY

Special Advisers and Press Officers

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many (a) special advisers and (b) press officers were employed (i) full-time, (ii) part-time and (iii) on a contract basis by her Department in each year since 1992. [6881]

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Ms Hewitt: (a) I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office to the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) on 21 November 2001, Official Report, column 340W.

(b) The number of Press Officers (all full-time) is given in the table:

As at 1 March
199515
199617
199717
199817
199924
2000(24)21
2001(24)21
1 September 2001(25)23

(24) Includes one contract press officer.

(25) Includes two contract press officers.

Note:

Information from earlier years is not available.


Hepatitis C

Dr. Gibson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will name the (a) grants and (b) laboratories awarded Medical Research Council funds for research into hepatitis C in the last five years; and what the amounts were in each case. [15724]

Ms Hewitt: Over the last five years, the MRC has made new awards for research into hepatitis C for four projects at two MRC units and has also funded 10 projects at universities or other institutes. Details are provided in the table.

Host institution TitleAmount awarded (£000) Period
University of LeedsFunctional analysis of the hepatitis C virus non-structural proteins271January 1999 to January 2002
UMISTOxidative stress and anti-oxidants associated with hepatitis C virus infections302January 2001 to January 2004
Imperial College of Science Tech and MedFunctional imaging of diffuse liver disease: can it predict progression to cirrhosis?516December 1999 to November 2004
University of SouthamptonT lymphocyte and Hepatic Stellate Cell interactions in chronic hepatitis C179October 2000 to September 2003
University of LeedsStructure and function of the P7 protein of hepatitis C virus153April 2001 to April 2004
University of GlasgowDevelopment of a system to study hepatitis C virus replication287December 1998 to December 2001
UMISTMechanisms and Regulation of RNA Function in Gene Expression350June 2001 to May 2004
University of WarwickTreatment of persistent virus infections by gene therapy50May 1999 to May 2000
University of NottinghamMHC-tetramer binding analysis of human HCV-specific CD8 positive liver-derived and peripheral blood T cells123February 1999 to January 2001
Institute of Child Health (London)Epidemiology and surveillance based on anonymous neonatal testing with data linkage108October 1996 to June 1998
MRC Biostatistics UnitStatistical modelling of HIV and hepatitis C progression: incubation period immunological and other markers and HLA phenotyne145FY 1995–96 to 1997–98
MRC Virology UnitHepatitis C; protein crystallography; HSV and bunyavirus suppressor mutations590FY 1995–96 to 1997–98
MRC Virology UnitAnalysis of the structure and function of hepatitis C virus proteins371FY 1998–99 to 2000–01
MRC Virology UnitThe basis of host range and tissue tropism for hepatitis viruses557FY 1998–99 to 2000–01


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