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Statutory Instruments

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Statutory Instruments subject to negative procedure made by his Department (a) came into force and (b) were considered by a delegated legislation committee in each of the last three sessions. [88024]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is held in calendar years and not by parliamentary session. The number of Statutory Instruments laid by the Ministry of Defence that were subject to the negative procedure and that came into force in the last three years is:


None of these statutory instruments were considered by a delegated legislation committee.

War Veterans (Support)

Mr. Hoyle : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to support (a) Falklands War and (b) Gulf War veterans. [86983]

Dr. Moonie: Since my appointment as the Government's Minister for Veterans in March 2001, I have been taking steps to provide all veterans from Her Majesty's armed forces with a co-ordinated focus for dealing with their concerns. I have set out three main priorities for this work. Firstly to pull together the Government's response to issues that cut across Government Departments, such as veterans' homelessness or ill-health; secondly to ensure that lessons learnt are absorbed into MOD's policies for service personnel; and thirdly, to improve communication by publicising the assistance offered to veterans by central, devolved and local government as well as giving veterans' organisations the opportunity to represent their collective and individual concerns to Government at ministerial level.

In terms of financial support, all injured service personnel who are deemed to have sustained a disability due to their work in the armed forces are eligible for a

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tax-free 'War Disablement Pension' from the Veterans Agency. They may also qualify for an attributable pension under the Armed Forces Pension Scheme.

The Veterans Agency has always provided potential claimants with help and advice while they are completing their pension applications through a Freephone Helpline. That service was extended in April 2002 to provide all veterans and their dependents with a first point of contact and advice and information on where to access the support that is available to veterans from both the Government and the additional support provided by the veterans' charitable organisations. This support is provided to help ease the transition back into the civilian community in terms of employment and housing resettlement.

Many of those whose service included deployments during the Falklands and the Gulf Conflicts will have already left the armed forces and some of those have ongoing health concerns that are being treated through the support provided under the national health service.

In relation to the Gulf Conflict of 1990–91, we accept that some veterans are ill and that some have died. In our policy document: XGulf Veterans Illnesses: A New Beginning" dated 14 July 1997, we set out how we would deal with this complex issue. We adopted three principles. First, that all Gulf veterans will have prompt access to medical advice from the MOD's Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment. Second, that there will be appropriate research into veterans' illnesses and factors which might have a bearing on these. Third, the MOD will make available to the public any information it possesses which is of potential relevance to this issue. The policy document and information about what we have done in respect of Gulf veterans' illnesses can be found on the internet at: www.mod.ulc/issues/gulfwar.

At present I am not aware of any evidence that demonstrates that veterans from any particular campaign or conflict need additional support. But we remain open minded and one of the working groups established as part of the Government's current Veterans Initiative has placed a contract with King's College London for research to provide evidence to support policy decisions to improve the delivery of cross-departmental support to veterans and identify any areas of unmet need. The next stage of this research will include interviews with key stakeholder organisations, such as the South Atlantic Medal Association 82, The Royal British Legion and Combat Stress as well as individual veterans. The aim will be to gather information on the needs of ex-service personnel, particularly the more vulnerable who are struggling with financial or emotional problems.

Warships (Protection)

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on changes in (a) training and (b) watch-keeping practices in the Royal Navy since the attack on the USS Cole; [89874]

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Mr. Ingram: Detailed classified guidance on countering the Asymmetric threat has been issued to all Royal Navy and RFA vessels, and this guidance is reviewed regularly. In addition, Operational Sea Training has been improved to take into account new trends in Force Protection.

Ships in United Kingdom military ports are now protected by armed gangway personnel. Also, units deployed to high risk ports will, as required, put in place enhanced Force Protection methods in the form of booms and physical barriers, with the agreement of the host nation.

A team has been set up within the Fleet Headquarters specifically to deal with Force Protection issues.


BBC (Independent Productions)

Paul Farrelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when the Office of Fair Trading intends to report on whether the BBC has met its independent production quota for the period April 2001 to March 2002. [90283]

Dr. Howells: I understand that the Office of Fair Trading is in the process of finalising the Director's report on the BBC's independent production quota for the 2001–02 reporting period. The report is expected to be published by the spring.

Cricket World Cup

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what representations her Department has made in the last six months to (a) the International Cricket Council and (b) the English Cricket Board with regard to (i) World Cup matches being rescheduled outside Zimbabwe and (ii) the England Cricket Team not playing in that country. [90643]

Mr. Caborn: Officials in this Department contacted the England and Wales Cricket Board on 30 December 2002 and 2 January 2003 to discuss a possible meeting between the Board and Ministers. No representations have been made to the International Cricket Council by DCMS officials over the last six months.

Industrial Action

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many working days have been lost in her Department due to industrial action in (a) 1997–98, (b) 1998–99, (c) 1999–2000, (d) 2000–01, (e) 2001–02, and (f) 2002–03; and if she will make a statement. [90484]

Dr. Howells: DCMS has not lost any working days due to industrial action in the years 1997–98 to 2002–03.

Licensing Bill

Mr. Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to require churches to be licensed in order to stage concerts; what fees they will have to pay in order to hold such concerts; and if she will make a statement. [90574]

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Dr. Howells [holding answer 14 January 2003]: In the Regulatory Impact Assessment, published with the Licensing Bill, it has been estimated that an initial application for a premises licence would cost between #100 and #500, and that there would be an annual charge of between #50 and #150.

However, as I stated in the House of Commons on 16 December 2002, Official Report, column 517, the Government has made a commitment to reconsider its position on the licensing of public entertainments in churches and will announce its conclusions as soon as possible.


Child Care

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many new child care workers have been recruited as a consequence of the child care recruitment campaign; and how many are working in child care settings. [87968]

Maria Eagle: The 2001 Child Care Workforce Survey shows that there are 274,520 child care staff across the sector. This is a rise of 21 per cent. from the 1998 workforce survey figures, when the figure stood at 226,340.

There have been over 140,000 calls to the child care recruitment campaign national telephone order line. We do not keep track of the outcomes for all individuals who call, but a small sample survey in January 2002 showed that 86 per cent. of the callers surveyed had looked for job information and 10 per cent. had already found a job in the sector.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what recent progress has been made against targets by early years development and child care partnerships. [87982]

Maria Eagle : Local authorities returns indicated that by summer 2002 free nursery education places were available for some 70 per cent. of 3-year-olds, towards the target of a free such place by 2004 for all 3-year-olds whose parents want one. They also indicated that by June 2002 new child care places had been created since 1997 for some 1 million children towards the target of new places for 1.6 million children by March 2004; and that taking account of turnover in existing places, the increase in child care places to June 2002 will have benefited some 0.6 million children towards the target of 1 million children by March 2004. Information on progress against a range of other targets will be included in local authorities 2003–04 early years development and child care plans, which are to be returned in February 2003.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what his estimate is of the number of affordable child care places that will be needed if 70 per cent. of lone parents are to be in work by 2010. [88001]

Maria Eagle: The provision of affordable and flexible child care places for lone parents will be a key part of the strategy in meeting the 2010 70 per cent. employment

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rate target. However it is not possible to accurately estimate the number of child care places required to increase the lone parent employment rate to 70 per cent. due to the wide range of interrelated factors that will determine both the lone parent employment rate and the take up of child care places by working lone parents.

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