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Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons

The Minister for Europe (Mr. Denis MacShane): At the meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) in Geneva on 27/28 November, a new legally binding Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) was adopted. The new Protocol (the 5th to the CCW) sets out obligations and best practice for the clearance of post-conflict ERW (munitions used during an armed conflict that should have exploded but failed to do so or munitions which have been abandoned during an armed conflict.) The principal obligations in the new Protocol are:

This Protocol is an important step in reducing humanitarian risks associated with ERW and fulfils a long-standing UK objective to secure agreement on a legally binding Instrument . The Government is looking

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into the necessary steps that may need to be taken to enable the Government to proceed to ratification of this Protocol.


Armed Forces Pay

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): I am pleased to announce that I have appointed Mr Robert Burgin and Dr Peter Knight for a three year term of office as members of the Armed Forces' Pay Review Body commencing 4 February. Mr Neil Sherlock is also re-appointed for a second three-year term from 4 March. These appointments and re-appointment have been conducted in accordance with the guidance of the office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. The Prime Minister has announced earlier today that he is appointing Professor David Greenaway as the next Chairman of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon): The Supplement to the 2003 Report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body making final recommendations on the pay of Service Medical and Dental Officers has been published today. Copies of the Supplement are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House.

The Review Body recommends a final increase of 6.8 per cent. for all Regular and Reserve Defence Medical Services Medical and Dental Officers, in addition to the 3.2 per cent. interim award already implemented on 1 April 2003, representing a total increase of 10 per cent. The Review Body also recommends a pay increase of 3.225 per cent. for medical and dental cadets and an out-of-hours supplementary payment of £8,500 to junior doctors. In addition, the Review Body recommends that there should be no further increase in the values of Sustained Quality Payments, Trainer pay and Distinction Awards, above the interim 3.2 per cent. increase already implemented.

The cost of these recommendations to the Defence Budget, including the interim award already implemented, will be some £14.5M. This will be met within existing Departmental expenditure limits.

The Review Body's final recommendations are to be accepted in full, with implementation effective from 1 April 2003.