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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts in excess of £5 million have been signed, awarded or novated to (a) Matra BAE Dynamics and (b) consortia in which Matra BAE Dynamics is a member since January 1997; what the approximate value is of each contract; what the in-service dates were when contracts were announced; and what they are now anticipated to be. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel have been granted a war pension from the War Pensions Agency in the last year; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Moonie: A claim for war disablement pension may only be made after discharge from the armed forces. During the year April 2000 to March 2001 6,384 awards of war pension were made to former members of the armed forces. For the period April 2001 to September 2001 3,221 awards were made.
Dr. Moonie: A Call-out Order was signed on 11 October under section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 (RFA 96) to permit reservists to be called out for permanent service on operations arising from the terrorist attacks in the United States of America. Since then 51 reservists from all three services have been called out
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on various dates, of whom 46 have come into service. Of that 46, three have completed their tasking and been transferred to another operation. In addition, five Sponsored Reserves from the Royal Air Force's Mobile Meteorological Unit have been called out under separate powers contained in section 43 (1) of RFA 96. We expect to call out more reservists as the operation progresses.
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on recruitment and retention in the (a) (i) Coldstream Guards and (ii) Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters' Regiment and (b) (1) Royal Scots and (2) Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. 
Mr. Ingram: Recruitment to Infantry regiments is at about the same level this year as last. To the end of October 2001, the Army has recruited to just about 50 per cent. of target for all Infantry Divisions. Although retention data are not centrally collected at regimental level, indications are that recruitment to the specific regiments mentioned is satisfactory and on a par with last year.
Retention in the Army overall is currently holding steady. We expect (and need) an acceptable level of outflow in order to achieve the required manning profile. The premature voluntary exit of other ranks has fallen to 6.1 per cent. over the last 12 months. The rate for officer outflow has remained steady at 4.4 per cent. This maintains the historically very good performance and is well below the peak experienced at the beginning of the 1990s.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what warnings about depleted uranium hazards have been given to (a) UK and other allied forces troops, (b) UK and international aid and media organisations and (c) civilian communities and military organisations likely to be exposed to depleted uranium contamination in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 December 2001]: We are not aware that DU has been used in the current conflict by the Coalition, nor are we aware of any plans for it to be used. We have no information about the use of DU in previous conflicts in Afghanistan.
In the event that it is used in future, suitable guidance will be available to UK deployed forces. It will be for other nations to take similar actions with their own forces as they see necessary. The Coalition will also liaise with the Afghan authorities and human relief agencies in the event that there is a need to issue guidance to the Afghan population.
Syd Rapson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future occupancy of Whale Island, Portsmouth, with special reference to the (a) Royal Marines and (b) Royal Marine Band. 
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which will be formed in the Portsmouth area in April 2002. The headquarters is planned to occupy purpose- built accommodation on Whale Island from the end of 2003.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Commonwealth troops are expected to participate in the London celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee; and how many participated in 1977. 
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) military bands and (b) armed service personnel will participate in the London celebrations of Her Majesty's the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2001. 
Mr. Ingram: Detailed planning for the London celebrations of the Queen's Golden Jubilee that will take place between 1 June and 4 June 2001, with particular reference to the armed forces, is still on-going, though the armed forces will play a significant role in the proceedings.
Mr. Barker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Commonwealth countries have been invited to send troops to participate in the London celebrations of Her Majesty the Queen's Golden Jubilee. 
Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of parliamentary questions replied to by his Department were the subject of a holding answer in the last three sessions of Parliament. 
|Session dates||Percentage of holding replies|
|24 November 199811 November 1999||21|
|17 November 199930 November 2000||21|
|6 December 200014 May 2001||21|
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Mr. Ingram: The security arrangements for the transportation of Ministry of Defence nuclear materials, which take particular account of the threat of an attack by armed terrorists, have been kept under constant review since their inception. These security arrangements include a review of the threat prior to the movement of these materials and a mechanism to provide for a speedy decision to suspend the operation if it is deemed necessary to do so. Suspension has not been considered necessary since 11 September, although due account has been taken of the changed threat environment.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Her Majesty's Government have evidence that Iraq is in breach of United Nations resolutions on the (a) procurement, (b) possession and (c) manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. 
In their final report following withdrawal from Iraq in December 1998, UNSCOM noted that Iraq still retained a significant WMD capability. There have been no independent inspections since then. We assess that Iraq still has that capability. There is considerable circumstantial evidence that Iraq is engaged in a programme of rebuilding manufacturing facilities disabled by UNSCOM and those destroyed during Operation Desert Fox in December 1998.
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