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Operation Telic

Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many urgent operational requirements (UORs) there are in respect of Operation Telic, and if he will list them, together with the total value, broken down where available by individual urgent operation requirement. [101417]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 March 2003]: Over 170 urgent operational requirements (UORs) have been approved at a value of around £500 million for equipment related to Operation Telic. The broad categories into which these can be broken down are shown in the following table.

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Force protection Including measures to enhance situational awareness and platform protection, and to maximise Combat ID inter-operability with US forces.
Modifications for desert operationsAction to address the lessons identified from Exercise SAIF SAREEA II and enhance, inter alia, the performance of Challenger 2 and AS90 in desert conditions.
Close-quarter fightingA range of measures including additional light machine guns and enhanced night vision and thermal imaging equipment.
Precision munitionsIncreased stocks of precision munitions in accordance with lessons identified from operations in Kosovo.
Secure communicationsA range of measures to ensure interoperability with US forces at both unit and platform level.
NBC protectionA range of measures to protect UK forces from any CBRN threat.
Medical supportIncludes enhancements to field hospital infrastructure and medical equipment.
Support equipmentIncluding additional Temporary Deployable Accommodation (TDA), support to logistics operations, water and fuel distribution.

These measures do not include the additional purchase of stock, such as clothing, which are not obtained by the UOR process.

Service Personnel (Welfare)

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mechanisms exist for servicemen and women on operations to raise concerns and complaints about their welfare; and if he will make a statement. [101592]

Dr. Moonie: The provision of operational and non-operational welfare support to Service personnel and their families is a high priority within the Armed Forces personnel strategy and in particular during operational deployments. Welfare is part of the unit commander's responsibility, supported by welfare staff both within the operational theatre and at home. There are a number of avenues through which a Service person can raise a welfare concern. These include the officer commanding their unit or section, the Chaplain and medical staff. The specific procedures, which apply equally to operational and non-operational duty, are publicised to Service personnel through normal briefing arrangements. Welfare support is also available to the families at home.

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In the event of a complaint, there are the Service Redress of Complaints procedures. These procedures are enshrined in the Services Discipline Acts. They apply equally to welfare as to any other issue and provide the statutory right for all personnel to state a complaint and have it reviewed at successively higher levels in the Service. The principle is to deal with a complaint in an effective, fair and timely manner at the lowest appropriate level but with provision for escalation if it cannot be resolved there.

South Korea

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many British warships have made a visit to South Korea in each of the past five years. [101162]

Mr. Ingram: The number of Royal Navy ship visits to South Korea in each of the past five years is detailed below. For completeness visits by Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels are also included. HMS Nottingham had been programmed to visit South Korea towards the end of September 2002 but the visit was subsequently cancelled following her grounding off the east coast of Australia in July 2002.

No visits have been undertaken so far during 2003.

HMS GRAFTON (Chinhae 11 to 13 October)NilHMS CORNWALL (Pusan 31 August to 4 September)NilNil
HMS GRAFTON (Pusan 13 to 17 October)HMS NEWCASTLE (Pusan 31 August to 4 September)
RFA FORT VICTORIA (Pusan 31 August to 4 September)
RFA FORT VICTORIA (Pohang 15 September)

Uranium-tipped Ammunition

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance has been given to British troops regarding the (a) handling and (b) use of uranium-tipped rounds. [101159]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State gave on 10 February 2003, Official Report, column 508W to my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, North (Dr. Gibson).

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether British forces destined for the Gulf have been equipped with uranium-tipped rounds. [101160]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 29 January 2003, Official Report, column 858W to my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith).


Airline Passengers (Deportations)

Mr. Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passengers have been removed from the United Kingdom on scheduled airlines pursuant to Government deportation or removal orders under section 27 of the Immigration Act 1971 in each of the last three years; and at what cost to public funds. [101416]

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Beverley Hughes [holding answer 6 March 2003]: No passengers have been removed under section 27 of the Immigration Act 1971.

This section of the Act refers to offences committed by carriers rather than passengers. It does not contain powers for removal.

Section 27 makes it an offence for a captain of a ship or aircraft to knowingly permit a person to disembark when this is prevented under schedules 2 or 3 of the 1971 Act, or to fail to make arrangements for a person's removal under this Act.

The power to remove persons refused leave to enter and illegal entrants lies in schedule 2 of the 1971 Act. Paragraph 9 of that schedule provides for removal at the carrier's expense and paragraph 10 provides for removal at public expense. Schedule 3 to the 1971 Act allows the Secretary of State to set removal directions pursuant to a deportation order, with the expenses defrayed by the Secretary of State. Section 10(6) of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 gives a power to set removal directions for persons who breach their conditions of leave or who obtain leave to remain by deception. The costs must be met by the Secretary of State.

Asylum Seekers

Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he will take to ensure that unaccompanied child asylum seekers are not recruited for (a) sexual exploitation, (b) child labour and (c) other forms of child exploitation. [100315]

Jacqui Smith: I have been asked to reply.

Unaccompanied, asylum-seeking children are supported by councils with social services responsibilities, in accordance with the duties laid on them by the Children Act 1989. The Act draws no distinction between such children and other children in need.

Children at risk of becoming involved in prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation are likely to be in need of welfare services and, in many cases, protection under the Children Act 1989.

Where there is a risk to the life of a child or a likelihood of serious harm, an agency with statutory child protection powers, such as the police or councils with social services responsibilities, should act quickly to secure the immediate safety of the child. In some cases, it may be necessary to ensure either that the child remains in, or is removed to, a safe place. Under section 20 of the Children Act 1989, a local authority may provide accommodation for any child within its area if it considers that this would safeguard or promote the child's welfare.

When a child is identified as at risk of being drawn into prostitution or other commercial sexual exploitation, an assessment of the child's needs will be undertaken in accordance with "Safeguarding Children Involved in Prostitution" (2000) and "Working Together to Safeguard Children" (1999), the Government's child protection guidance, and the "Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and Their Families" (2000). This assessment should be followed by

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consideration of how best to address the identified needs of the child and the development of a care plan. The plan could include a range of services.

The Children and Young Persons Act 1933 is the primary legislation governing child employment. The legislation is intended to protect children and young people who are being employed. Local authorities are responsible for ensuring compliance with the legislation and any related local byelaws.

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he expects to agree a target figure for the removal of asylum seekers whose claims are judged to be unfounded. [101148]

Beverley Hughes: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary during Home Office oral questions on 24 February 2003, Official Report, column 13. In his reply my right hon. Friend said 'Within weeks of taking over as Home Secretary, I made it clear to the House that the original intention, the technical commitment that had been made in relation to the number of people who could be removed from the country was not feasible. I indicated then that it would be more sensible to have commitment related to a proportion of the intake and that we should switch our energies into preventing entry by strengthening our borders. That is precisely what I have done in the past 20 months'.

The Public Service Agreement (PSA) in 2003–04 remains the same as in the PSA 2000 i.e. to enforce the immigration laws more effectively by removing a greater proportion of failed asylum seekers.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers known to his Department are in the UK and not in receipt of any kind of benefit; and how many there were at the same date in each of the last three years. [101237]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 6 March 2003]: The requested information is not available.

Statistics on the number of asylum seekers who are supported by the National Asylum Support Service (NASS) are available on the Home Office's Immigration and Asylum Statistics website: http://www.homeoffice.

Mr. John Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department under what circumstances work permits can be issued to asylum seekers who do not have jobs. [101429]

Beverley Hughes [holding answer 17 February 2003]: None. The United Kingdom's work permit arrangements are employer-led. It is for the employer to apply for a work permit in respect of a specific post.

Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans are in place for Iraqi asylum seekers already in the UK should war be declared on Iraq. [100835]

Beverley Hughes: No decision has yet been taken to launch military action against Iraq. Appropriate arrangements are, however, being put in place to deal with the consequences, should such action be taken. Those arrangements cover the situation of Iraqi asylum seekers already in the United Kingdom.

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