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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 3 April 2003

CABINET OFFICE

Civil Contingency Plans (Portsmouth)

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what resources he has allocated to improve civil contingency plans for the Portsmouth area in the event of a terrorist attack in the last two years; and if he will make a statement. [105354]

Mr. Alexander: Central Government provides funds, in the form of civil defence grant, for local authority emergency planning and civil contingency planning.

The allocations of civil defence grant for Portsmouth city council and Hampshire county council from 2000–01 onwards are detailed in the following table.

Local authority
PortsmouthHampshire
2000–0148, 000229, 824
2001–0278, 999276,770
2002–0374, 081298,610
2003–0474,467298,996

Local authorities often supplement the civil defence grant from their revenue support grant. I understand that Portsmouth city council budgeted to provide an additional £17,304 in 2002–03 and £20,533 in 2003–04 and that Hampshire county council budgeted to provide an additional £326,900 in 2002–03 and £336,600 in 2003–04.

The civil defence grant is just part of central Government funding for planning for and responding to emergencies. Central Government provides substantial funds to other local responders, including the emergency services and health authorities.

E-Envoy

Mr. Yeo: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will make a statement on the Government's plans to change (a) the level of staffing and (b) the role of the Office of the e-Envoy; [105629]

Mr. Alexander: The Office of the e-Envoy was established in September 1999. The following table shows how many staff have worked in the Office of the e-Envoy in each month since this date. All figures are rounded to full-time equivalents (FTE) . The Office of the e-Envoy business plan for the 2003–04 financial year assumes an average of 122 FTE staff.

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Last November, the Office of the e-Envoy published its third UK online annual report. The report provides a comprehensive summary of the work of the Office and makes recommendations for future activity.

It also highlighted the results of an independent e-economy benchmarking study which found the UK to be second only to the USA in terms of its environment for e-commerce.

The E-Minister, Patricia Hewitt and the e-Envoy, Andrew Pinder also provide a monthly update to the PM outlining activity.

Copies of the annual and monthly reports are available in the Library of the House, from the Office of the e-Envoy and online at www.e-envoy.gov.uk.

2000200120022003
April54111142
May56123138
June56125141
July54129140
August52128134
September256138139
October457146140
November660147144
December1060145145
January1262148141
February5171145141
March5392143138

Note:

Figures are full-time equivalents rounded to nearest whole number.


Public Appointments

Sandra Gidley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many vacancies in public appointments there were in each county in 2002; [106231]

Mr. Alexander: This information is not held centrally. Individual Ministers, supported by their Departments are responsible for making their own appointments.For my own Department during 2002, six new appointments and 21 re-appointments were made to non-departmental public bodies for which the Cabinet Office was responsible. All were made to boards of public bodies whose headquarters are in London.

Staff Numbers

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many staff are employed by his Department. [106282]

Mr. Alexander: Staffing figures for Civil Service departments and agencies are published twice yearly by press notice, copies of which are laid in the Libraries of both Houses. The latest information, for October 2002, was published in February this year. The figures are also made available via the world-wide web at http://www.civil-service.gov.uk/statistics/documents/pdf/staffing 03.pdf

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Departmental Units (Budgets)

Mr. Norman: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the (a) total budget of and (b) total pay costs incurred by (i) the Strategy Unit, (ii) the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, (iii) the Office of the e-Envoy, (iv) the Office of Public Services Reform and (v) the Prime Minister's Policy Unit have been in each year since their creation. [103068]

Mr. Alexander: For details of the No. 10 Policy Directorate, I refer the hon. Member to the answer my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave the hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Laws) on 25 March 2003, Official Report, columns 125–27W. The Strategy Unit was not formed until June 2002 so there are no full year's figures on which to report. For the rest of the units inquired about see the following tables:

£000

Total budget
Unit name1998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Office of the e-Envoy042,29955,63356,096
Delivery Unit0001,393
OPSR0001,518

£000

Total actual pay costs
Unit name1998–991999–20002000–012001–02
Office of the e-Envoy05,5667,3278,800
Delivery Unit000614
OPSR000980

DEFENCE

Gulf War Veterans

Mr. Malins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he considers that (a) the renal disorder and (b) the post traumatic stress disorder of Paul Connolly, a civilian Gulf war veteran are attributable to that conflict. [105978]

Dr. Moonie [holding answer 31 March 2003]: The Ministry of Defence does not believe that Paul Connolly's renal disorder is attributable to the 1990–91 Gulf conflict. The nature of traumatic psychological injury is such that the Ministry of Defence would need to carefully consider up to date specialist psychiatric assessment before being able to give a view on whether or not Paul Connolly has PTSD and, if so, its aetiology.

HMS Torbay

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there have been problems with HMS Torbay upon its return to active service following its refit. [95416]

Mr. Ingram: HMS Torbay returned to the fleet after her refit in November 2002 following a short delay while the submarine's electrical generation and heat management system and equipment was repaired.

As is normal following a substantial maintenance and upgrade period, some defects have been identified since HMS Torbay returned to operational service. These have

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had no significant impact on operational capability and have either been repaired during routine maintenance or will be addressed when the programme permits.

Iraq

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what financial support will be made available to the dependants of those killed or injured in the conflict in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [106245]

Dr. Moonie: The Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) provides valuable occupational ill-health benefits, based on years of service and rank, where a service person is injured and medically discharged from the armed forces. If the injury is considered attributable to service, the AFPS benefits are enhanced and paid tax-free. In addition, the War Pension Scheme (WPS) pays a War Disablement Pension and may pay other associated allowances, which include recognition of carer responsibilities.

Where the member dies in service from an attributable cause and leaves a widow or widower, and/or a dependant child, the AFPS benefits include a short-term family pension, equal to the service person's annual rate of pensionable pay; this is payable for up to 182 days and maintains the household income level in the early months of bereavement. In addition, a death-in-service lump sum is paid of between 1 and 1½ times the individual's representative rate of pay, and an attributable gratuity is also payable; both these are paid tax-free.

Thereafter, a long-term widow's or widower's pension and, as appropriate, children's pensions are paid. Attributable widow(er)'s pensions are significantly enhanced, index-linked and paid for life, regardless of whether the widow(er) remarries or cohabits. The attributable widow's or widower's pension is 90 per cent. of the member's full career pension, less an abatement to reflect the amount by which the WPS war widow's or widower's pension exceeds the basic state widow's pension. Attributable children's pensions are also enhanced and index-linked, and are paid until age 17; they may remain in payment until a later age if higher education is undertaken. The WPS provides additional compensation for families of those service personnel whose death is attributable to their service. This includes a tax-free War Widow's or Widower's Pension.

In my written statement of 20 March 2003, Official Report, column 54WS, I announced that unmarried partners, including same sex partners, of service personnel whose death was attributable to conflict-related service would be eligible for ex-gratia benefits equivalent to those awarded to spouses under the AFPS. Partners would need to demonstrate that the relationship was substantial. However, the policy change is not retrospective with respect to deaths occurring before 20 March and does not affect the WPS, which already has its own rules regarding unmarried partners.

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has issued to the media (a) television footage and (b) still photographs of Iraqis taken prisoner by coalition forces in the invasion of Iraq. [106419]

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Dr. Moonie: A very limited amount of television footage of Iraqi's taken prisoner, which was taken by the services' mobile news teams, has been issued to the media. We have also made some selected still photographs available.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi prisoners of war have been taken in the conflict; and how many (a) were injured and (b) are being cared for by coalition doctors. [106959]

Mr. Ingram: United Kingdom forces are holding approximately 5,000 Iraqi prisoners of war. On 2 April 2003, 37 prisoners were being treated by UK military medical personnel. Of these, 35 had sustained battle related injuries and two were being treated for non-battle related illnesses.

Information on other prisoners of war is a matter for the coalition member holding them.

Mrs. Spelman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Iraqi civilians have been (a) injured and (b) killed as a result of the conflict; and of those killed, how many have been buried. [106960]

Mr. Ingram: We have made very clear our commitment to the welfare and future of the people of Iraq, and deeply regret any civilian casualties resulting from coalition action. However, it is impossible to know for sure how many civilians have been injured, or killed and subsequently buried. Figures presented by the Iraqi regime are likely to be inflated or distorted for propaganda purposes, and may include civilians injured or killed by Iraq's own forces.


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