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Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 January 2002]: When claims for compensation are submitted they are considered on the basis of whether or not on the balance of probabilities the Ministry of Defence has a common law liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability arising from negligence to pay compensation we do so. The amount of compensation awarded is assessed in accordance with an individual's symptoms, degree of disability, personal circumstances and the levels being awarded by the courts in similar cases.
The MOD has received about 2,000 notices of intention to claim from Gulf veterans and members of their families in respect of illness allegedly arising from the Gulf conflict, but no writs or claims of sufficient detail to be considered have been received.
Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on encouraging the employment of local contractors for new build projects on the UK mainland. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 January 2002]: The Ministry of Defence is pursuing greater efficiency in the delivery of services essential to maintain and develop the Defence Estate. To fulfil this objective we aim to involve industry in a broader way through public-private partnerships, and in particular the Prime Contracting Initiative.
Prime Contracting should not be seen as a bar to local or smaller companies. A key feature is the development of supply chains with the capability to cover the full range of the activities required to deliver estate projects. It is envisaged that this will present significant opportunities for the involvement of local contractors.
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The greater efficiencies and better value for money will also allow more work to be completed for the Department, resulting in increased opportunities for those involved in its delivery. Where companies do not wish to bid for contracts in their own right as Prime Contractors, they are fully encouraged to be part of the supply chain. Opportunities for Prime Contracts will be advertised in the Works Services Opportunities Bulletin. Sub-contracts will also be advertised.
The MOD fully supports the objectives laid out in the Office of Government Commerce publication "Tendering for Government contracts" which sets out the opportunities and benefits within the public sector for small and medium sized enterprises.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 19 December 2001, Official Report, column 336W, on special educational needs, how many married accompanied service personnel, not in receipt of boarding school allowance, are serving in areas (a) under SCE educational jurisdiction and (b) not under SCE educational jurisdiction. 
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what were the conclusions and recommendations of Phase I of the Quinquennial Review of the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre Agency; how many and what submissions were made to Phase I by stakeholders and other interested parties; if he will place a copy of the Phase I report in the Library; what the period to be allowed for consultation over the Phase I report is; and what is the projected Schedule leading up to the publication of the final Review. 
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Dr. Moonie: The Billi-G programme is one element in a suite of experiments by the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) using high-energy radiation to examine the behaviour of materials when subjected to explosive shock. It is important in predicting the performance of a nuclear warhead and hence in underwriting our nuclear deterrent in a nuclear test ban era.
The cost of the programme is included in the total AWE operating costs of £2.3 billion for the 10-year period beginning 1 April 2000. The specific costs of these experiments could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Frank Cook: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has decided to extend the life of the Trident warhead beyond the expected service life; and what plans he has to extend the life of the submarine beyond the expected service life. 
Mr. John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost is of the inter-site transportation of components and material in the Defence Aviation Repair Agency in the last 12 months. 
Mr. Ingram: The inter-site costs of transporting components and materials across the Defence Aviation Repair Agency are not recorded separately and the information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Mr. Ingram: The most recent studies of anti-tank guided weapons were concluded in summer 2001. These studies considered the procurement of such weapon systems for mechanised infantry and armoured infantry. The conclusions reached in these studies will be used to inform any future procurement options.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the effectiveness of the existing Milan system for medium range anti-tank missiles; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The MILAN system meets the requirements for which it was designed, and is successfully deployed in over 40 countries. The system has been in service since 1977, and replacements are developed in line with technological advances and changing capability requirements. MILAN, which is due to be phased out of
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Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer of 21 January 2002, Official Report, column 557W, on Colchester Garrison, when the temporary living accommodation for soldiers at Colchester Garrison will be ready for occupation; if he plans to allow the public to view the new buildings; and if there will be an official opening ceremony. 
Dr. Moonie: The temporary 'portakabin' type single living accommodation for soldiers at Colchester Garrison is ready for occupation now, though it is yet to be utilised due to operational deployments. There are no plans to invite the public to view the new buildings or to hold an official opening ceremony.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will announce the results of his analysis of his Department's civilian work force; and what effect this will have on the age of retirement. 
Dr. Moonie: The review of the Ministry of Defence's age of retirement policy for civilian staff has taken rather longer than expected because it has thrown up some complex issues, but it is now nearing completion and we expect to be able to announce the findings in the next few weeks.
Dr. Moonie: Recruitment to the civil service is on the basis of merit and fair and open competition. In the Ministry of Defence, most recruitment is delegated to local budget holders. Various steps are taken to try to ensure the success of our recruitment efforts, particularly in relation to women, disabled people and members of ethnic minorities, who are currently under-represented in our work force. Depending on the circumstances, we can also make available flexible working arrangements and some financial incentives.
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