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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 19 January 2004


Biological Weapons

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the United Kingdom Government's policy is on the export of (a) bacillus anthracis, (b) clostridium botulinum, (c) histoplasma capsulatum, (d) brucella, (e) melitensis and (f) clostridium perfringens by other countries. [146722]

Mr. MacShane: I have been asked to reply.

The export of these biological materials is controlled by States' obligations under the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC). They are, however, all materials that have a legitimate use in laboratories and facilities for the production of vaccines to protect against the diseases that may be caused by exposure to them. Their export, in small quantities consistent with legitimate medical and scientific research to established scientific institutions in states that are Party to the BTWC, is not banned under the Convention.

The Government would expect all other countries to scrutinise any applications for such exports with the same rigour as we would for exports from the United Kingdom.

Boards of Inquiry

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many boards of inquiry into deaths of military personnel have been established in each year since 1990. [142115]

Mr. Ingram: Not all military deaths are subject to boards of inquiry. However, details of military deaths investigated by boards of inquiry or other investigations are as follows:

Royal NavyArmy(1)RAF (2)

(1) Includes road accidents on duty and hostile action (not normally subject to Service investigation).

(2) Includes Army, USAF and Italian military personnel killed in RAF aircraft accidents.

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Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training was made available for UK forces personnel on the Oscar communications system; and if he will make a statement. [147278]

Mr. Ingram: The three key elements of the Operations and Strategic Communications Architecture (OSCA) are Multiplexers, Exchanges and Military satellite terminals. Prior to deployment, personnel received training on all three of these elements. Training was conducted by a mixture of military and civilian courses, and was supplemented by having Subject Matter Expects (SMEs) available in theatre.

Defence Spending

Mr. Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 17 December 2003, Official Report, column 943W, on defence spending, what the limits are on the UK's ability to conduct unilateral national operations in pursuance of security objectives; and if he will make a statement. [148530]

Mr. Hoon: I refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 3.3 and 3.5 of the Defence White Paper, Delivering Security in a Changing World (Cm 6041–1).

Departmental Relocation

Ms Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff in his Department work in (a) the West Midlands and (b) North Staffordshire. [146915]

Mr. Caplin: The number of civilian and Service personnel working in the West Midlands and Staffordshire are detailed as follows:

West Midlands Government Office RegionStaffordshire(3)
Civilian Staff as at 1 November 2003(4)4,790(5)800
Service personnel as at 1 July 2002(6)6,7401,080

(3) The Department does not hold information on staff based in the North Staffordshire area.

(4) Figures are for permanent industrial and non-industrial staff, excluding Royal Fleet Auxiliary, those on career breaks, long-term sick, secondments etc.

(5) The civilian figure for Staffordshire is an approximation as the Department does not routinely publish data below Government Office Region level.

(6) Figures are taken from Tri-Service Publication 10, last published in July 02.

Flying Hours

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current funded flying hours are for (a) Hercules, (b) Nimrod, (c) Chinook, (d) Sea King, (e) Puma, (f) Lynx, (g) Tornado F3, (h) Tornado GR4, (i) Harrier GR7, (j) Sea Harrier and (k) Jaguar aircraft of each type; and what amount of funded flying hours these aircraft had in each of the preceding three years. [145646]

Mr. Ingram: The following table shows funded (that is planned) flying hours.

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Financial year
Sea King42,57541,41335,40033,870
Tornado F326,13624,19323,02225,468
Tornado GR428,57226,36626,05827,733
Harrier GR715,37915,28214,80914,783
Sea Harrier6,3206,5656,0036,850


Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will name the Iraqi civilians killed in incidents which have been investigated since the end of the conflict by the Special Investigation Branch. [141674]

Mr. Ingram: United Kingdom Military Authorities in Iraq have investigated or are investigating the deaths of the following Iraqi Civilians, all of which are thought to have occurred since 1 May 2003:

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Eight of these investigations have been completed. In three cases, the deaths were found to be as a result of road traffic accidents; in three cases it was found that troops had behaved in accordance with their Rules of Engagement and that there was no case to answer; in one case it was found that death had resulted from natural causes; and one case has been referred to the Army Prosecuting Authority to determine whether charges will be brought. Six of these investigations are on-going.

An investigation is also being conducted into the death of Ather Karen Al-Mowafakia, which occurred prior to 1 May 2003.

In addition, investigations have been conducted into an incident in which a member of UK armed forces and an Iraqi civilian (who has yet to be identified) died, and into a fatal traffic accident in which a Kuwaiti civilian died, the name of whom has been withheld by Iraqi police. Both of these incidents occurred before 1 May 2003. The first investigation is on-going; the second has concluded and determined that the incident was an accident.

Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his Answer of 4 December, Official Report, column 127W, on Iraq, if he will name the individuals whose deaths are being investigated; on what date each died; on what date each investigation began; and what stage each investigation has reached. [143058]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is as follows:

Date Of IncidentDate Investigation StartedName of Iraqi CivilianStage of Investigation
8 May 20038 May 2003Radhi NatnaInvestigation complete
8 May 200311 May 2003Ahmad Jabber KareemInvestigation ongoing
17 May 200317 May 2003Abd Al Jubba Mousa AllInvestigation ongoing
24 May 200324 May 2003Said ShabramInvestigation ongoing
2 Aug 20034 Aug 2003Hassan Abbad SaidInvestigation ongoing
14 Sep 200315 Sept 2003Baha Nasheem MohammedInvestigation ongoing

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many claims have been submitted to the UK under section 6 of the Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 17; how many of these claims (a) give rise to and (b) do not give rise to a legal liability to pay compensation under English law; how many (i) compensation payments and (ii) ex-gratia payments have been made; and what the (A) amount and (B) reason for the payments was in each case. [146848]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 14 January 2004]: A total of 588 claims for compensation have been submitted to the United Kingdom Authorities under section 6 of CPA Order Number 17. Of these, 13 have been transferred to other contingents/organisations, 226 have been repudiated, 57 have received payment, and the remainder are still under investigation. The following table summarises the compensation payments made to date:

CategoryNumber of CasesTotal Settlements (£)
Fatalities3 8,125
Personal Injury20 7,250
Property Damage7 34,243
Road Traffic Accidents27 22,606
Total57 72,224

Ex-Gratia Payments are not covered by Section 6 of the Coalition Provisional Authority Number 17.

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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what strategy he is pursuing to (a) recover and (b) dispose of weaponry contaminated by depleted uranium in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. [148054]

Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 January 2004, Official Report, column 537W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Llew Smith).

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the total volume is of depleted uranium tipped weapons used in Iraq between March and May 2003; and if he will make a statement. [148295]

Mr. Ingram: There are no depleted uranium tipped weapons in UK service. However, UK forces in Iraq used a depleted uranium (DU) round in anti-armour operations. The round comprises an outer casing or "sabot" that surrounds a long rod penetrator made of DU, plus charge and igniter components. 1.9 tonnes of DU were expended by British Challenger tanks during the recent conflict in Iraq.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the availability is of cluster bombs to United Kingdom forces in Iraq. [148297]

Mr. Ingram: There are no cluster bombs held by UK forces in Iraq.

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