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Nuclear Test Veterans

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are in place to test the blood and saliva of British nuclear test veterans for evidence of irradiation. [50688]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 17 January 2002, Official Report, column 394W, to the hon. Member for Angus (Mr. Weir).


Dr. Kumar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are (a) in place and (b) under discussion in his Department in order to ensure compliance with the WEE Directive. [60741]

Dr. Moonie: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given to him on 12 June 2002, Official Report, column 1266W, by my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. Wilson).

Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff were employed by his Department on (a) 2 May 1997 and (b) 31 May 2002. [60896]

Dr. Moonie: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him on 13 June 2002, Official Report, column 1402W, by the Minister of State, Cabinet Office, (Mr. Alexander).

Strategic Sealift Capability

Mr. Laxton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made toward finalising the arrangements for the UK's future military strategic sealift capability. [65664]

Dr. Moonie: I am pleased to announce that negotiations with AWSR Shipping Ltd. have been concluded and a PFI contract that will run until 2024 has been signed. The full service will be available from 2003. AWSR will provide, operate, maintain and manage six roll-on roll-off vessels and supply crews for the whole of the period of their contract. 180 new jobs for British seafarers will be created. After a phase in period, crews will be sponsored reserves. Based on a projected usage, the service is worth some £950 million, of which some £800 million is likely to be spent in the United Kingdom.

All six ships will not be needed all the time for Ministry of Defence work. When not engaged on MOD tasks they will be available for commercial trade.

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The service will play a central role in fulfilling our strategic defence review commitment to enhance the armed forces' equipment lift requirements and allow the movement of the joint rapid reaction forces quickly to overseas theatres as required.


National Lottery

Mr. Watts: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make a statement on the review of the licensing and regulation of the National Lottery. [65667]

Tessa Jowell: I am today publishing a consultation document, setting out a number of possible changes to the future licensing and regulation of the lottery.

The document addresses the licensing arrangements which should apply when Camelot's second licence expires in January 2009. Our principal aim is to consider in good time therefore whether, and if so what, changes to the law governing the operation of the lottery are needed to ensure effective competition at that point, in the interests of maximising the income for good causes which it raises. The document takes account of the views of reports by the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee and by the National Audit Office into the award of the second licence.

The document also invites views on the issue of whether the lottery should continue to be regulated by the National Lottery Commission, or brought within the remit of the Gambling Commission which we propose to establish, as described in "A safe bet for success".

We shall shortly be publishing a further document which sets out our thinking on the arrangements for the distribution of lottery income, with a view to ensuring that the money for good causes is spent to best effect.

In this way, looking at both the income and distribution sides of the lottery, we aim to underpin its long-term success and appeal, so that the public can have confidence in supporting it.

I am arranging for copies of the consultation document to be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses. The consultation document is also available on the DCMS website at; and copies may be obtained, free of charge, from the Department. I shall be glad to consider comments on it.


Security Force Collusion Investigation

Mr. Soley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make available the terms of reference according to which Mr. Justice Peter Cory will conduct his investigation into allegations of security force collusion. [65614]

Dr. John Reid: At the Weston Park talks last summer, the British and Irish Governments undertook to appoint a judge of international standing to conduct an investigation into allegations of collusion by the security forces in six

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particular cases. The two Governments announced the appointment of Mr. Justice Peter Cory, a former member of the Supreme Court of Canada, on 29 May 2002. I have placed a copy of the judge's terms of reference, which are set out in his letter of appointment, in the Library.

Police Service Annual Report

Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he hopes to make available the annual report for 2001–02 of the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. [65615]

Dr. John Reid: Copies of the Chief Constable's annual report for 2001–02 will be placed in the Library tomorrow. It is a general report on the carrying out of the PSNI of their functions during 2001–02 financial year which is submitted to the Northern Ireland Policing Board and also to me for laying before Parliament in accordance with Section 58 (4) of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000.

Police Reserve

Mr. Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he will make a decision about the future of the Police Full-Time Reserve in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [64215]

Jane Kennedy: The Government remain committed to the objective of phasing out the Full-Time Reserve in line with the Patten report and the Implementation Plan.

The Policing Board has asked the PSNI in the context of the service's overall human resources strategy, to prepare detailed proposals, including the Full-Time Reserve, to be considered by the board. I look forward to hearing the board's views, in conjunction with the chief constable's assessment, before final decisions are made.

I understand the effect of uncertainty on officers and their families. I hope that it will be possible to reach conclusions on this issue shortly. In the meantime, the contracts of Full-Time Reserve officers will continue to be renewed.

Forensic Science

Mr. Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has made a decision on the future of forensic science in Northern Ireland. [55340]

Dr. John Reid [pursuant to his reply, 8 May 2002, c. 199W]: I have agreed that the executive agency status of Forensic Science Northern Ireland should be continued until 31 March 2006. In addition, I have agreed with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury that Forensic Science will become a Trading Fund from 1 April 2004. My decisions follow the completion of Stage 1 of a quinquennial review which examined the past performance of Forensic Science and the alternative organisational arrangements available for the delivery of forensic services in Northern Ireland. Generally the agency was found to have performed well and I commend its staff for their dedication through a difficult period. Stage 2 of the review will now be carried out to look at ways of improving the delivery of services by the agency. Copies of the Stage 1 report have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and will be available in due course on the NIO and Forensic Science websites.

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Funding (Luton, South)

Margaret Moran: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what moneys have been provided (a) directly and (b) via agencies for which the Department has responsibility to the Luton, South constituency since 1997. [58586]

Mr. Miliband: The information requested can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Departmental budgets are allocated on a national and regional basis and not by constituency.

Ministerial Meetings

Mrs. Curtis-Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which Ministers and officials had meetings with representatives of (a) the Confederation of British Industry, (b) the Engineering Employees Federation, and (c) the Engineering Marine Training Authority during the last year; who they met; and what the subjects and outcomes of their discussions were. [62204]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: Ministers and civil servants have meetings with a wide range of organisations and individuals as part of the process of policy development.

As with previous Administrations, it is not this Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings. All such contacts are conducted in accordance with the Ministerial Code, the Civil Service Code and Guidance for Civil Servants: Contacts with Lobbyists.

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