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Hearing Aids

Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what representations she has (a) received and (b) made to (i) the EU and (ii) the WTO regarding the provision of hearing aids to the deaf and hearing impaired in developing countries. [24270]

Clare Short: My Department has received two representations, neither of which has been from the EU or the WTO, on the provision of hearing aids during 2001. I have not made any representations on this subject, as they are not part of my Department's priorities for health, which are in line with the Millennium Development Goals.



Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on major procurement plans relating to land-based projects. [18757]

Dr. Moonie: We are investing in a number of new systems which will ensure that the Army's capability is maintained at the highest level. Plans for future equipment include the WAH-64 attack helicopter; improvements to the range and accuracy of our artillery weapons; a fully integrated fighting system for the infantry; a new range of armoured fighting vehicles; and new armoured engineering vehicles. We are also planning to procure a number of systems to improve logistics and combat support.

In addition, we have taken decisive action to rectify two long-standing equipment problems by undertaking a successful modification programme for the SA80 rifle and by placing a contract for the Bowman radio.

Our service personnel have excellent equipment that is the envy of most other armed forces. We are continually looking to modernise this equipment to ensure that our soldiers are fully able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Parliamentary Questions

Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason the question tabled by the hon. Member for Lewes on 23 October relating to the cost at that point of Operation Enduring Freedom, Ref. 8769, has not yet been answered; and if he will make a statement. [24398]

Mr. Hoon: I wrote to the hon. Member on 19 December 2001.

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Far East Prisoners of War

Peter Bradley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total cost to date of the ex-gratia scheme for ex-prisoners of the Japanese; and what would have been the additional cost of allowing the applications of those barred following the clarification of the definition of British earlier this year. [24728]

Dr. Moonie: The ex-gratia scheme to make payments to those held prisoner by the Japanese during the Second World War is administered by the War Pensions Agency. As at 21 December 2001 there had been 22,794 payments made at a total cost of £229,940,000. At the same date, there had been a total of 4,019 applications rejected, of which 1,097 were on grounds of nationality. Assuming that the 1,097 rejected applicants met all other criteria for the ex-gratia payment, the additional payment cost would be £10,970,000.

Territorial Army (Medals)

Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce that service in Category C of the Territorial Army is reckonable service for the efficiency decoration and the efficiency medal as recommended by the Joint Service Review of Honours and Awards. [25130]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence, in conjunction with other Departments, is currently considering this recommendation of the Joint Services Review of Honours and Awards.

Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department is taking to prevent the spread of Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever to special forces personnel operating in Afghanistan. [24998]

Mr. Hoon: Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever is a tick-borne virus; most patients are animal husbandry workers and it is uncommon in the winter months. The overall risk of Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever to UK troops is perceived as low. However, recommendations have been made to protect UK personnel from tick bites including the wearing of appropriate clothing, the treatment of clothing and the use of repellents.


Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total cost has been to the UK of (a) the military and (b) the humanitarian campaign in Afghanistan. [25203]

Mr. Hoon: £100 million has been made available by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer to cover new equipment and immediate Operational requirements needed for operations in Afghanistan and the campaign against international terrorism. Up to 31 October 2001, the net additional costs of Operation Veritas were £14.5 million. The Department for International Development (DfID), which is responsible for the humanitarian campaign, has set aside £60 million of which almost £40 million has already been allocated to UN agencies, the Red Cross movement and NGOs to support their response to the current crisis, both in

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Afghanistan and in the region. As well as financial assistance, DfID is also providing technical, personnel, logistical, material and other practical support.

MOD and Military Police (Retirement)

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel have retired from (a) the Military police and (b) the MOD police in each of the last five years. [15166]

Mr. Ingram: The number of personnel who have retired from the Military police and the Ministry of Defence police by financial year is as follows:

Naval Service1620223320
MOD police3841282427

"Retirements" have been defined as personnel leaving at the end of an agreed period of service.

Porton Down

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many films are held by the Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment at Porton Down of its biological warfare trial known as Operation Cauldron; and if he will place a list of the titles and dates of the films on this trial in the Library. [23129]

Dr. Moonie: During the late 1940s and early 1950s the Ministry of Supply undertook a series of major sea trials of the dissemination of biological warfare agents. It is believed that films, each consisting of several reels, were taken of the individual trials, including Operation Cauldron, which was conducted in 1952. Porton Down holds a videotape, entitled "Operation Cauldron—1952", which contains approximately 20–30 minutes of footage extracted from that shot during the trial. I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 9 May 2001, Official Report, column 197W, in which I explained that the titles of the 1,200 films in the archive at Dstl Porton Down have not been catalogued and in many cases are not very informative. It would involve disproportionate cost to collate a list of films. Therefore we cannot say if reels of film containing footage of Operation Cauldron are held in the archive at Dstl Portdon Down. Films held in the archive are gradually being transferred to the Imperial War Museum where they are being reviewed and catalogued. This is being undertaken in accordance with MOD policy.

Matthew Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a list of the common and chemical names of the incapacitants which have been tested on service volunteers at the chemical defence establishment, Porton Down, during the Service Volunteer Programme; and how many service volunteers were tested with each of these incapacitants. [22932]

Dr. Moonie: Agents known to have been used at Porton Down during the Service Volunteer Programme, and which are generally considered to be incapacitants include those listed.

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Sensory irritants:

Centrally acting agents such as:

However, definitions of what constitutes an incapacitant vary and there are many agents used in the Service Volunteer Programme on which information is not readily available. Precise numbers of volunteers exposed to the various agents are not known. Collation of such data would involve extensive detailed searches of all the Porton Down record books. It is hoped that this information will become available as a result of the proposed research into the health of Porton Down Volunteers.

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