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9 Mar 2004 : Column 1401Wcontinued
The Cabinet Office has published the Guidelines for UK Government websites, containing a substantial range of best practice on the building of websites, their management, their content, effective procurement and the evaluation of their reliability in delivering information to the citizen.
Mr. Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what amount has been spent on Ministry of Defence advertising in the (a) UK, (b) Wales and (c) England since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq. 
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will list the plans (a) agreed to by his Department and (b) being discussed by his Department with regard to the use of British armed forces and personnel during expansion of NATO operations in Afghanistan; 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 8 March 2004]: The expansion of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) will be carried out under a comprehensive NATO operational plan currently being prepared by the Alliance. This will assess troop requirements both in Kabul and elsewhere in Afghanistan. Decisions on the United Kingdom's military contribution to the international forces there will depend on the requirements of the operational plan and upon our determination to build on the success of the ISAF by offering to lead its expansion in Northern Afghanistan.
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Mr. Ingram: Unit production costs (UPC) for major equipment programmes, such as Typhoon, where these are practical to construct, can be found within the information given in the Ministry of Defence Major Projects Report (MPR). Those figures are estimated in accordance to methodology agreed with the National Audit Office (NAO). The NAO published their report on MPR 2003 on 23 January 2004 and copies are available in the Library of the House.
The unit production cost for the Joint Strike Fighter will not be agreed until after the completion of the current negotiations on the Production and Sustainment Phase Memorandum of Understanding. However, the estimated UPC of the Joint Strike Fighter aircraft is around $50 million on current planning assumptions.
At part (c) of his question I assume that my hon. Friend is referring to A400M. The current forecast cost of the UK programme is £2356 million. I am withholding the unit price information in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice access to Government Information, which relates to third party commercial confidences.
The cost of each Advanced Jet Trainer will not be known until contractual negotiations with BAE Systems have been concluded. It should be noted that unit production costs are on a resource account basis and exclude development costs.
Mr. Tyler: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has examined evidence of birth defects among babies born to service families whose members were deployed in Iraq in 2003 and who were inoculated for anthrax, with particular reference to those serving in the 33 Field Hospital; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 8 March 2004]: The Health Protection Agency, which is a Special Health Authority accountable to the Secretary of State for Health, has confirmed that the anthrax vaccine has been used for many years and there has never been any indication that it could lead to congenital problems.
Mr. Caplin: Information about the number of jobs is not available, only staff numbers. There were 6,510 civilian staff employed in Scotland as at 1 January 2004 (rounded to the nearest 10). This figure is for full-time equivalent, permanent, industrial and non-industrial staff, excluding Trading Funds, Royal Fleet Auxiliaries
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Mr. Steinberg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the evidence of the Permanent Secretary to the Committee of Public Accounts on 21 January, which foreign contractor, after winning a defence contract, refused to supply the goods; for what reasons; and whether others have done so in the last two years. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 March 2004]: In respect of the evidence given by the Permanent Secretary to the Committee of Public Accounts on 21 January, I presume my hon. Friend refers to the contract for the supply of ammunition for Underslung Grenade Launchers. In this case, there was no known instance of the contractor (RUAG) refusing to meet the contract, though deliveries of ammunition were suspended by the Swiss Government during the major hostilities in Iraq.
As regards identifying any other foreign contractors who have refused to meet defence contracts in the last two years, the information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Bob Spink: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what representations and discussions he has had on the Irish Government's recent support for a pardon for those soldiers wrongly executed during the First World War as part of the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of the war; 
(3) what plans he has to grant pardons to the soldiers in the British Army who were executed in the First World War to mark the 90th anniversary of the outbreak of the war. 
Mr. Caplin: This matter was fully examined during the detailed review led by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hamilton, North and Bellshill (Dr. John Reid), which was completed in 1998, and reported to the House, 24 July 1998, Official Report, columns 137286. As a result, those who were executed have been recognised as victims of the War.
An initial meeting at official level has been held at the request of the Irish Government on the subject of a possible pardon for Irish soldiers executed during the First World War and further contact is expected.
Adam Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of the Royal Military Police were involved in the (a) arrest and (b) detention of the six Iraqis who have died in British custody in Iraq. 
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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 19 January 2004]: If United Kingdom forces witness an incident in which they are not directly involved and civilian or military personnel are injured they assist medically if necessary and endeavour to report it to the appropriate authority. We do not record the number of casualties witnessed in such incidents centrally.
Mr. Ingram: There have been 1,109 medical evacuations of British military personnel from Iraq between May 2003 and February 2004. Of these some 460 were evacuated for treatment of medical problems not related to wounds or injuries.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the signing of liability waivers by Iraqi civilians who receive compensation payments from the UK for UK actions in Iraq; 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 January 2004]: Since 19 March 2003, 58 United Kingdom service personnel have died while deployed on operations in Iraq. One civilian, a member of the Defence Fire Service, has died in the same period.
During major combat operations, from 19 March to 1 May 2003, UK forces suffered 155 battle casualties. Since then we have recorded centrally only those ill or injured personnel who have required medical evacuation to the UK. There have been 1,109 medical evacuations of British military personnel to date.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contamination has occurred from depleted uranium ordnance in Iraq; whether this has arisen from (a) toxicity, (b) ionising radiation and (c) other aspects associated with the ordnance; whether human safety measures in this connection have been put in place; and if he will make a statement. 
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The overall responsibility for dealing with depleted uranium (DU) contamination in Iraq lies with the Coalition Provision Authority (CPA), unless it has adverse effects on Ministry of Defence service personnel or civilians in theatre.
The MOD issues specific safety instructions to all personnel who may come into contact with Depleted Uranium (DU) in operational situations. These instructions have been publicly available on the MOD's website http://www.mod.uk/issues/depleted uranium/gulf safety instructions.htm since February 2003. In addition to these, the MOD is carrying out activities to reassure civilians that the risk posed to them by DU is as minimal as practically possible. Surface-lying DU fragments are being removed from the battlefield as they are discovered, and Iraqi locals have been warned through leaflets and signs that they should not go near or touch any debris they find on the battlefield.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the conclusions of each of the boards of inquiry from operations in Iraq which were outstanding on 31 October 2003 but which have since reported. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 March 2004]: Further to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for New Forest, West (Mr. Swayne) on 23 February 2004, Official Report, column 3W, I can confirm that the only Board of Inquiry to report since 31 October 2003, is that concerning the death of Marine Maddison on 30 March 2003. The Board of Inquiry concluded that Marine Maddison's death was as a result of a tragic friendly fire incident.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when DU information cards Ref F Med 1018 were first issued to troops in Iraq; on what advice it was deemed necessary to issue such warnings, and from whom; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin: The depleted uranium (DU) information card F MED 1018 was introduced on 26 March 2003. It is issued as a standard administrative procedure to those returning from Operation Telic in Iraq to confirm that they have been deployed in a theatre where DU munitions have been used and to remind them of their eligibility for a voluntary biological monitoring test to measure uranium in the urine. It is therefore not a warning card, but is intended to inform personnel about one of the tests available in line with the Ministry of Defence operational health policies.
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