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29 Oct 2002 : Column 704W—continued

Gulf War Veterans

Dr. Cable : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf War veterans from the Twickenham constituency have been seen by the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme; how many of these were assessed; how many were assessed as having a cancer; and if he will make a statement. [76929]

Dr. Moonie: As at 18 October 3,334 patients have attended the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP), and of these, three Gulf veterans were recorded as living in the Twickenham constituency. None were assessed as having a cancer.

The clinical findings for 3,000 Service and ex-Service patients who attended the GVMAP in the period between 11 October 1993 and 18 June 2001 was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine on 1 October 2002. The paper found that 75 per cent. of the 3,000 patients seen were well at the time of attendance. The authors found no unusual pattern of disease among patients attending over time.

International Interoperability Council

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the membership of the International Interoperability Council is; what its objectives are; and if he will make a statement on its method of proceeding. [77791]

Mr. Hoon: I assume that the hon. Member is referring to the Multinational Interoperability Council (MIC) which comprises Australia, Canada, France, Germany, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The objectives of the MIC are to identify interoperability issues and to articulate actions which, if implemented pan-nationally, would contribute to more effective coalition operations. The work of the MIC is principally conducted by means of Working Groups. Further information on the MIC is available at


Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what has been the annual cost of implementing the no-fly zones over northern and southern Iraq since RAF military overflights began; how many bombs have been dropped on Iraq by British aircraft over this period; and what United Nations resolutions give authority for the policing of the no-fly zone. [75981]

Mr. Ingram: Our records do not separately identify expenditure incurred in maintaining the no-fly zones. However, the table sets out the overall additional expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Defence as a direct result of operations in the Gulf from 1992–93 onwards.

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Additional expenditure
2001–02(9) 22(10)

(9) Estimate.

(10) Calculated on a resource basis; all previous figures are cash-based.

The Royal Air Force aircraft patrolling the Iraqi no-fly zones had dropped 318 bombs during this period (to 30 September 2002), 52 of those weapons were released during Operation Desert Fox.

The Royal Air Force patrol the Iraqi no-fly zones in support of UN SCR 688, which demanded an end to Saddam's brutal repression of its own people.

Medical Negligence Claims

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many medical negligence claims were received by his Department in (a) 2000–01, (b) 2001–02 and (c) 2002 to date; how many complaints in (i) 2000, (ii) 2001 and (iii) 2002 resulted in compensation being paid; how much compensation was paid in each year; and if he will make a statement. [77286]

Dr. Moonie: The number of claims received for alleged clinical negligence together with the amount of common law compensation paid in 2000–01, 2001–02 and between 1 April to 23 October 2002 was as follows:

Clinical negligence claims receivedNumber of claims settledCompensation paid including claimants' legal costs (#)
2002–03(11) 78266,427,000

(11) 1 April to 23 October 2002

When compensation claims are submitted, they are considered on the basis of whether or not the Ministry of Defence has a legal liability to pay compensation. Where there is a legal liability to pay compensation, we do so. Most claims are settled amicably on a legal liability basis without recourse to the courts. The payment of compensation does not necessarily occur in the financial year that the claim was received.

A record of complaints from Service personnel and their families alleging medical negligence is kept only for those cases where compensation is being sought.

Military Trucks

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the companies which have submitted bids

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for the military trucks contract; and when an announcement on the award of the contract will be made. [77601]

Dr. Moonie: Bids for the military trucks contract were received from four companies—MAN UK Truck & Bus Limited, Mercedes-Benz UK Limited, Oshkosh Truck Corporation and Stewart & Stevenson Services Inc. An announcement on the award of the contract will be made at contract placement in late 2003.

Network-centric Capability (Armed Forces)

Mr. Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures his Department is taking to enhance the network-centric capability of the armed forces. [76863]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 28 October 2002]: As we stated in the Strategic Defence Review New Chapter, the key to delivering networked capabilities is the ability to collect, fuse and disseminate accurate, timely and relevant information to deliver improved situational awareness—a shared understanding of the battlespace among commanders at all levels. We are already committed to investment in a range of sensor capabilities such as Nimrod MRA4, ASTOR and RAPTOR and communications systems such as SKYNET 5, BOWMAN, FALCON and tactical datalinks—part of the backbone of our network infrastructure. We are also investing in information processing applications that will enhance our capability to collate, analyse and control the distribution of information within the network. As part of the New Chapter we announced a number of early capability enhancements that will help improve situational awareness, for example, an extra Mission Console for the E3-D and advancing the WATCHKEEPER Surveillance UAV programme.

Nuclear Weapons

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith), Official Report, 15 October 2002, column 547W, on nuclear weapons, if he will estimate the size of the credits payable to the UK under the 1998 MOU. [77799]

Dr. Moonie: The size of the credits payable to the United Kingdom under the 1998 MOU total $47 million, based on fiscal year 1999 constant dollars.

Partnered Defence Supply Chain

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the employment implications of the Partnered Defence Supply Chain Initiative; and when he will be able to inform the House. [77065]

Mr. Ingram: The Defence Logistics Organisation has challenging targets to reduce costs whilst improving the quality of logistics support to the Front Line. As part of this, the Partnered Defence Supply Chain Initiative is seeking to assess the risks and opportunities of increased levels of commercial participation in managing and

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operating the Defence Physical Supply Chain. This analysis has only just commenced therefore it is too early to ascertain what potential employment implications there could be. I will inform the House of the results of the current initial assessment, anticipated to be complete in the middle of next year.

Pension and Compensation Arrangements

Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to publish proposals on armed forces pension and compensation arrangements; and what consultation process he envisages following such publication. [77790]

Mr. Ingram: Proposals on the new Armed Forces Pension Scheme and Compensation Scheme were published in March 2001. The formal consultations took place between March 2001 and July 2001, although they were informally extended to October 2001 to admit some late replies. In parallel, discussion groups took place at Service units throughout the country and discussions were also held with ex-Service organisations, such as the Royal British Legion and Forces Pension Society. The final proposals are currently being staffed for final approval by Ministers. These proposals have taken account of the comments received during the consultation process, the recommendations of the House of Commons Defence Committee, and discussions with the ex-Service community. Subject to approval around the turn of the year, the final details of the schemes and a report on the consultations will be published early next year.

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