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2 Dec 2002 : Column 472Wcontinued
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral statement of 25 November, Official Report, column 129, on the contract for the desertisation of the Challenger 2 tank, on what date the contract was (a) let and (b) signed. 
Mr. Hoon: A Post Design Services enabling agreement with Alvis Vickers Ltd., the Design Authority (DA) for Challenger 2, was authorised at the end of October 2002. A series of other contracts have been let with the DA since then, but I am withholding details of these under Exemption 1 (Defence, security and international relations) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. To provide such information would jeopardise our contingency planning and harm operational security.
Dr. Moonie: As shown in Table 27 of the Departmental Performance Report for 200102 (Cm 5661) expenditure by the Chief of Public Relations increased from £2.8 million in 200001 to £3.1 million in 200102. The increase was due mainly to increased costs in running press facilities in support of Operation VERITAS.
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Dr. Moonie: As at 27 November, there are currently 18,745 pairs of Combat Assault Boots held in stock, which equates to about eight weeks supply. Our stocks are replenished at about 6,000 pairs a week.
Dr. Moonie: There have recently been problems with the supply of Combat Assault Boots (CAB) as a result of production difficulties with the contractors concerned. These difficulties have now been resolved and stocks are being replenished. We do not hold information centrally on the number of boots issued to individuals at unit level. We do not believe any soldier was without CAB because of this difficulty.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many laptops and computers have been (a) stolen and (b) lost by his Department since December 2000; and how many in each category have been recovered. 
Dr. Moonie: Since December 2000, there have been 260 reported cases of computer theft and six reported cases of computer losses across the Ministry of Defence. Details by category, distinguishing between laptops and other computers, and the numbers of each recovered, are not readily available, under current reporting arrangements and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A new system of reporting is being introduced with effect from 1 April 2003. This will enable detailed data to be retrieved more readily.
Mr. Hoon: Defence and security issues are discussed in the General Affairs and External Relations Council. The dates of these meetings are set out each month in Written Ministerial Statements from the Minister for Europe, most recently today. We do not currently have any information about dates for meetings after June 2003.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of the Defence Vetting Agency on its performance in 200102 towards its key target 3 on counter terrorist checks. 
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Mr. Ingram: I am regularly consulted on the formulation of the Defence Vetting Agency's key targets, including the target for counter-terrorist checks. I am also briefed on the Agency's performance against those targets. As I explained in my answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth North (Mr. Rapson) on 17 October 2001, Official Report, column 1223W, the Agency's performance would be depressed while a number of changes took place in the course of DVA collocation and an ambitious modernisation programme aimed at improving efficiency and responsiveness. I am satisfied that the necessary action is being taken to improve on last year's performance and have approved the key targets for the current year.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to (a) review the working of the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas Scheme) as it applies to his Department and (b) to extend the Scheme to include all MOD civilians. 
Dr. Moonie: The Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) (CIC(O)) Scheme is designed to give members of the armed forces and their dependants who are deployed overseas comparable levels of compensation to those that would have been awarded by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) had the incident occurred in Great Britain. The operation of the CIC(O) Scheme is, therefore, analogous to that of the CICA.
There are no plans to extend the CIC(O) Scheme to include MOD civilians, as they are already covered by the provisions of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS). Claims under this scheme are assessed by the PCSPS Medical Advisers by analogy to the CICA Scheme.
Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims have been made by (a) members of HM forces, (b) dependants and (c) civilian MOD employees under the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) Scheme in each year since 1997. 
Dr. Moonie: The number of claims made by members of HM forces and their accompanying eligible dependants under the Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) Scheme in the financial years 199798 to 200102 is as follows:
|Financial year||Number of claims|
|1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998||66|
|1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999||69|
|1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000||74|
|1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001||70|
|1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002||47|
2 Dec 2002 : Column 475W
dependants. Separate figures for each category could be produced only at disproportionate cost by individually examining each case record.
Civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence are not eligible to claim under the scheme. They are, however, covered in similar terms by the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme (PCSPS), as are locally employed civilians (LECs).
|Financial year||Number of claims|
|1 April 1997 to 31 March 1998||0|
|1 April 1998 to 31 March 1999||2|
|1 April 1999 to 31 March 2000||3|
|1 April 2000 to 31 March 2001||1|
|1 April 2001 to 31 March 2002||3|
Mr. Viggers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support has been given to Mr. Terry Jeans to enable him to attend court in Croatia; and what further support is to be offered to enable him to attend a public hearing on the case on 5 December. 
Dr. Moonie: Between September 1998 and July 2000, Mr. Jeans was afforded considerable financial assistance from both public and non-public funds to enable him to attend a number of court hearings in Croatia, in relation to his son, Private Simon Jeans, who died on 17 September 1996 following an assault by a number of Croatian civilians in Split. Administrative support was provided by the British Embassy and Defence Staff in Zagreb.
The Regimental Association of the Royal Logistics Corps, which provided the most significant contribution, is unable to provide any further financial assistance to Mr. Jeans. Mr. Jeans was not the nominated Next of Kin and is therefore not entitled to support from public funds. Exceptional authority was, however, granted by the Secretary of State for the funding from the public purse of Mr. Jeans' last trip to Croatia in July 2000, to enable him to hear the conclusion of the trial of those accused of assaulting his son. This was on the basis that it constituted his final trip to Croatia and that no precedent would be set. The latest hearing concerns an appeal by a Croatian state attorney against the later release of two of those who were accused of assaulting Private Jeans. While the Ministry of Defence recognises Mr. Jeans' desire to attend this latest hearing, I am afraid that no further financial assistance can be provided to him in this case.
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