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26 Nov 2002 : Column 173Wcontinued
Dr. Moonie: Information on deaths is routinely collected within the Ministry of Defence in a number of ways. Service casualty branches receive and hold information on injuries and deaths for next of kin and casualty purposes. The Armed Forces Pay and Administration Agency collects information on deaths for pay, pensions and manpower purposes. The Defence Analytical Services Agency collects information for statistical purposes. Detailed information on location is held by the Service casualty branches. However, this is not readily accessible, being held as free text fields in a mixture of databases and paper records.
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|Consultant specialty||Current manning(15)|
|Accident and Emergency||3|
|Obstetrics and Gynaecology||0|
|Burns and Plastic Surgery||3|
|Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery||7|
|Ear, Nose and Throat||3|
|Rheumatology and Rehabilitation||6|
|Public Health Medicine||8|
|Dental Public Health||2|
(15) Including command and staff appointments
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what reserve forces are available (a) to assist in firefighting duties and (b) to replace regular service personnel engaged in firefighting duties during industrial action by civilian firefighters. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 November 2002]: There are currently no plans to call out reservists in response to the firefighters' strike. However, it is possible that volunteers may be used in supporting roles, but in such cases they would not be deployed as firefighters.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the impact of the deployment of service personnel to provide fire cover on the ability of the Armed Forces to respond to a chemical, biologial, radiological and nuclear attack in the UK. 
Mr. Ingram: Contingency plans, involving the Armed Forces, are in place for responding to a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. This capability has not been affected by the deployment of Service personnel to provide emergency fire and rescue cover.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to sign a Queen's Order conferring rights to call up extra reserves in the event of military action being undertaken before the firefighters' dispute has been settled. 
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As my right hon Friend the Secretary of State told the House on 4 November, call- out of reservists for any new operational commitment would be the subject of a separate call-out order at the appropriate time.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of each of Her Majesty's armed services have (a) died and (b) been seriously injured as a result of the discharge of firearms in (i) Great Britain, (ii) Northern Ireland, (iii) Germany and (iv) other overseas postings in each year since 1990. 
|Year of death|
|Other overseas postings||1||25||1||2||15||5|
|Year of death|
|Other overseas postings||7||0||0||3||8||4||71|
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many firearms deaths since 1990 were perceived to be (a) suicide or self-inflicted deaths, (b) accidental deaths and (c) homicide or other deaths caused by other persons or persons unknown. 
|Year of death|
|Hostile action and assault||10||12||6||7||8||0|
|Suicide and open||12||7||11||5||12||14|
|Year of death|
|Hostile action and assault||5||1||0||3||2||1||55|
|Suicide and open||9||3||0||0||3||2||78|
1. The number of suicides and open verdicts is likely to rise for the later years as outstanding coroners' verdicts are confirmed.
2. As at 18 November 2002.
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Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions his Department has had with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Homelessness Unit regarding homeless ex-service men; what welfare policies are in place to prevent young ex-service men becoming homeless; and what plans he has to introduce further policies. 
Dr. Moonie [holding answer 25 November 2002]: Since my appointment as Minister for Veterans in March 2001,1 have had regular contact with ministerial colleagues in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) through the Veterans Task Force which normally meets every six months to give direction to the Government's Veterans Initiative. I have also agreed to become a member of the Ministerial Committee on Homelessness.
Officials from the Ministry of Defence and ODPM meet representatives of veterans' organisations regularly through the Ex-Service Action Group; in recent times there has been increased contact in order to develop a work placement programme which will be provided in partnership with the Prince's Trust XBusiness in the Community". The programme will be up and running next year.
Officials from ODPM are members of a working group on service resettlement established as part of the Veterans Initiative. I have tasked the group with enhancing processes to ensure a more successful transition to civilian life for the small minority of vulnerable service leavers who need support.
The MOD had a number of discussions with the ODPM earlier this year in order to assume financial responsibility for the housing advice staff provided by the English Churches Housing Group in Catterick Garrison and Shelter at the Military Correction and Training Centre in Colchester.
Officials from both Departments have also been discussing how best to make local authority housing officers around the country aware of the change in the 1996 Housing Act Priority Needs Categories, issued on 31 July 2002, which extends the groups of homeless people considered to be in priority need of housing to include the few armed forces personnel who are vulnerable to homelessness due to their institutional background. MOD has also been engaging with the appropriate authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that the same issues are taken into account in their future legislative proposals for housing allocations.
More recently, my officials have been finalising arrangements with the ODPM's Homelessness Directorate and the local authority in Richmond, North Yorkshire, for a project to convert a disused art-gallery
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into 13 self-contained studio flats. The flats will be used to provide short-term accommodation (six to nine months being the norm) for service leavers who are most vulnerable to homelessness. I met the first residents on 25 November.
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