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18 Dec 2003 : Column 1064Wcontinued
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of the proposed top-up fee income which will be required to be applied for in bursaries. 
Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what estimate he has made of the cost to universities of administering the proposed bursaries; and if he will make a statement. 
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Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures have been put in place by his Department to cope with the increased demand on postal services for troops serving in the Gulf this Christmas; and if he will make a statement on the effectiveness of the current arrangements for the sending of parcels to troops serving in the Gulf over the Christmas period. 
Mr. Ingram: A full airmail service for letters and packets up to 2 kg is in place, and no charge is made for these items addressed to named personnel in the Gulf. In anticipation of increased volumes of mail for personnel in the Gulf over the Christmas period, arrangements have been made for appropriate space to be allocated on RAF flights to the region. The current arrangements are very effective, and a high quality of service is being achieved.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures are being taken to increase the numbers joining the armed forces; and what measures he is taking to increase recruitment into the armed forces from Commonwealth countries. 
Mr. Caplin: All three Services undertake numerous and varied initiatives, both at national and local level, aimed at increasing the level of recruitment to the armed forces. Included amongst the many current initiatives are:
Services' Recruiting Teams' attendance at schools, careers fairs and Graduate Recruitment Seminars, road shows, exhibitions, youth clubs and organisations.
Work experience placements within Service Establishments.
Personal Development Courses and Look at Life Courses for young people who express an interest in the armed forces.
Taster Day visits to HM Ships and Service Establishments. A dedicated careers website for each of the Services.
An Army 'on-line' recruiting office, with plans for this to be replicated by the other Services.
Specialist Ethnic Minority Recruiting and Diversity Action Teams aimed at promoting Armed Forces careers amongst the United Kingdom's ethnic minority and faith communities.
A Partnership with the 'Jobcentre Plus', making use of its network (totalling in excess of 1,100) of local outlets.
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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 8 December 2003, Official Report, column 271W, on Armed Forces Staffing Levels, when he expects to announce the final conclusions of the End to End review. 
Mr. Ingram: Following my announcement on the 10 September 2003, Official Report, columns 2627WS. I placed a summary of the conclusions from the End to End (E2E) Review in the Library of the House. The review was wide-ranging and work is now being undertaken to determine how best to achieve the E2E objectives. This includes a Demonstration Phase designed to test the conclusions of the Review. It is too early to predict what the final outcome of this work will be. I shall keep the House informed of progress as this work continues.
Mr. Cousins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions he has raised (a) the waiver for United Kingdom companies from the United States International Traffic in Arms Regulations and (b) the fast track for United Kingdom defence export permits with the US Administration; and when he expects these issues to be resolved. 
Mr. Hoon: I, and other members of the Government have raised the issue of improved defence trade cooperation with the US Administration on several occasions this year. The Government are seeking a United Kingdom waiver from the United States International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which will better meet the needs of UK industry than an agreement about processing times for the licensing of US items for export to the UK. The joint statement the Prime Minister issued with President Bush on 20 November affirmed that they both consider it a high priority to implement a licensing exemption that will facilitate defence trade between our countries.
We hope that the waiver will come into effect next year, subject to congressional and parliamentary approval, and after the necessary implementing regulations and administrative procedures have been put in place.
Mr. Caplin: There are currently no plans to merge Army regiments. The Defence White Paper, published last week, sets out the context for shaping the structure of the Armed Forces for many years ahead. Work is still to be done with regard to the details of individual systems and units within that overall structure, but at present no decisions have been taken.
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Marines given by respondents to the last assessed Royal Navy/Royal Marine Continuous Attitude Survey; and if he will make a statement. 
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reason Royal Navy and Royal Marines personnel are not asked about nationality in the current edition of the Continuous Attitude Survey; whether nationality was listed as a question in previous editions; and if he will make a statement. 
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Royal Navy/Royal Marine Continuous Attitude Survey last included questions on (a) overstretch and (b) privatisation and contractualisation; for what reason those questions are not included in the latest edition of the Royal Navy/Royal Marine Continuous Attitude Survey; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin: No requirement has been identified to collect information about (a) overstretch or (b) privatisation and contractualisation through the Continuous Attitude Survey. The impact on personnel of the high level of operational commitment by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines will be addressed in the future.
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Mr. Caplin: While no final decisions have yet been made, it is anticipated that there will be a series of national and international events 'the Trafalgar Festival' co-ordinated by the Official Nelson Commemoration Committee which will include an International Fleet Review in the Solent.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding has been allocated by his Department for celebrations to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005; what form he expects the celebrations to take; which countries have been invited to take part; and if he will make a statement. 
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