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20 Mar 2003 : Column 881W—continued


Dr. Tonge: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the Chinese Government regarding the pending death sentence on Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche. [103863]

Mr. Rammell: We have raised the case of Tenzin Deleg Rinpoche (together with that of Lobsang Dhondup) three times with the Chinese authorities. We also supported strongly worded EU demarches to the Chinese and an EU declaration on the case. The Chinese authorities have confirmed that his original sentence, the death sentence, suspended for two years, has been upheld.

We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Chinese about this case and the treatment of Tibetans more generally.

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Mr. Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with other European Union member states on human rights issues in Turkey; and if he will make a statement. [103795]

Mr. MacShane: My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary last discussed human rights issues in Turkey with EU colleagues at the European Council in Copenhagen in December 2002. At official level, our dialogue with EU partners is constant, in Ankara, Brussels and elsewhere.

UN Compensation Commission

Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who the UK representatives are on the UN Compensation Commission; how much compensation has so far been disbursed, broken down by country of origin of the case; and how much has been committed to be disbursed (a) in total and (b) by country of origin of the case. [103840]

Mr. Mike O'Brien: The UK, as a Security Council member, sits on the Governing Council of the United Nations Compensation Commission and is represented by HMG officials in Geneva and London. Claims for compensation from the UNCC are dealt with by the FCO Consular Claims Section and through our diplomatic mission in Geneva.

The commission has received about 2.6 million claims seeking compensation in excess of US$300 billion. The majority of these claims have been resolved. Nearly 100 Governments have submitted claims, as well as various UN organisations. Details of which countries have submitted claims can be found on the UNCC website:


Advertising Expenditure

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much the Department spent on advertising in Scotland in each year since 1999 on (a) television, (b) newspapers, (c) radio, (d) magazines, (e) billboards and (f) sporting events. [102327]

Mr. Stephen O'Brien: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent in each of the last 24 months on (a) television, (b) radio and (c) newspaper advertising for each of the armed forces. [103525]

Dr. Moonie: This information is not held centrally in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

However, since 1999–2000 Ministry of Defence's advertising and publicity costs have been published in the annual Departmental Performance Report, broken down into categories of RN, Army, RAF and civilian recruitment, PR, marketing and business support services, Chief of PR, sales promotion, scholarships and

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National Employers' Liaison Committee. Copies of these documents have been placed in the Library of the House.

Age Diversity

Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department completed its diagnostic review for compliance with the Government's Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment; and what changes his Department plans to make following the review. [99420]

Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence reviewed its employment policies in accordance with the Government's Code of Practice for Age Diversity in Employment and took steps to integrate age into its equal opportunities policies through implementation of the Performance and Innovation Unit's report "Winning the Generation Game". This made specific recommendations for the civil service to ensure that policies are age-proofed in preparation for the legislation to be introduced in 2006. The review was concluded in May 2002. It included consideration of raising the retirement age to allow those staff who currently have a retirement age of 60 the option to stay on to the age of 65. The conclusion was that there should be no change to the retirement policy at this stage, but that it should be kept under review in light of the emerging legislation. The Ministry of Defence is committed to ensuring that its employment policies do not discriminate unfairly on grounds of age or for any other reason.

Armed Forces' Pay

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held with representatives of Her Majesty's forces on the formation of a federation to represent the armed forces in negotiations over pay and working conditions; and if he will make a statement. [103868]

Dr. Moonie: None. The independent Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) makes recommendations to the Government on pay, after gathering evidence from a wide variety of sources, including Service personnel of all ranks. The AFPRB system commands widespread respect throughout the Services.

Members of the Armed Forces may also express their views about working and living conditions through Continuous Attitude Surveys, Service personnel liaison teams and their own chains of Command, who have a duty to look after the welfare and well-being of personnel under their authority.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the high and low pay banding system will apply to all members of HM forces; and if he will make a statement. [103870]

Dr. Moonie: The majority of Armed Forces personnel have now transferred to Pay 2000, which was implemented on 1 April 2001 and introduced an incremental, two-tier system of higher and lower pay bands for regular serving other ranks. A full review of Pay 2000 will take place to inform the 2004 pay round

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but there are currently no plans to introduce higher and lower pay bands for officers, although they will continue to be subject to an incremental pay system.

Armed Services (Free Travel)

Mr. Maples: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what ranks in the armed services are allowed to travel by air (a) first class and (b) business class at public expense when on official duties. [102886]

Dr. Moonie: Air transport is the normal method of movement for Service Personnel and their families travelling to and from the United Kingdom. Operational airlift for all personnel, including senior officers, is conducted using either trooping flights or commercial charter for which there is no business class entitlement. The booking of seats on civilian commercial flights to destinations not served by air trooping services, or to which service flights are not available at the time required, is permissible but only with the prior approval of the appropriate budget holder.

The number of flying hours in one day dictates the seat class entitlement at public expense. There is no entitlement to first class travel for flights under 2.5 hours duration.

For flights over 2.5 hours, only 4-star Service officers are permitted to travel first class. Where there are only first or third class seats available, 2-star officers and above may also travel first class.

For flights of 4 hours duration or longer, 1-star Service officers may travel first class when a business class seat is unavailable.

All ranks of the armed services are entitled to travel business class—if a seat is available—for flights over 2.5 hours. Leave travel is undertaken at economy rates.

Award Schemes

Annabelle Ewing: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the award schemes in (a) 2001 and (b) 2002 promoted by the Department; what their scope was; when the relevant participating organisations are scheduled to be sent results; and whether other parties will be given notification of the results at the same time. [102056]

Dr. Moonie: Although some parts of the Ministry of Defence have been involved in the sponsorship of award schemes open to external candidates, we have not devoted significant resources to the promotion of any such scheme in 2001 or 2002.

Blood-Clotting Bandages

Mr. Peter Duncan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether blood-clotting bandages will be available to troops deployed in the Middle East. [103038]

Dr. Moonie: No. There are currently no fibrin (blood clotting agent) impregnated bandages licensed in the United Kingdom and such bandages will not be issued to United Kingdom service personnel deployed in the Middle East.

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Chemical/Biological Weapons

Mrs. Calton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate the Government have made of the useable lifetime of (a) anthrax (wet form), (b) smallpox, (c) VX and (d) mustard gas; and if he will make a statement. [103578]

Dr. Moonie: The stability of these materials depends very much on the initial purity and the precise storage conditions. Their usable lifetime as chemical or biological warfare agents, can range from a few months to several tens of years. It should be noted that even partially degraded material may still pose a significant hazard.

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