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Mr. Keith Simpson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will estimate the average employment cost
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of (a) an officer, (b) a member of other ranks, (c) a non-industrial civil servant and (d) an industrial civil servant in 200405. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will write to the hon. Member for Portsmouth, South as promised in his answer of 1 April 2004, Official Report, column 11W, on enhanced combat body armour. 
(2) what contingency plans were drawn up by his Department (a) unilaterally and (b) in conjunction with other countries for the evacuation of British nationals and others from Equatorial Guinea immediately prior to the attempted coup earlier this year; 
In this case no contingency planning was considered necessary because the majority of Entitled Personnel were covered by commercial evacuations plans, and the remainder would have been evacuated by the French under the updated civil contingency plan.
Throughout the period there were no operational UK forces in the Gulf of Guinea area other than British Military Training Teams in Ghana and Nigeria, and Defence Advisers/Attaches in Ghana, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the date of contract signature for the (a) Support Vehicle, (b) Light Forces Anti-Tank Guided Weapon Systems, (c) Next Generation Anti-Armour Weapon and (d) Terrier projects are. 
Brian Cotter: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress the Government is making towards meeting its obligation under the Ottawa Treaty to clear landmines from the Falkland Islands by 2009. 
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has taken in the past year to improve communications between the Army and bereaved relatives of soldiers who have died while serving; and how many persons, of what rank, are employed in family liaison. 
Mr. Caplin: We constantly review our procedures to ensure that they are sensitive to families' needs. A number of measures have been taken recently, including the formation of the Army Widows Association, to provide a focus for widows to share a common understanding of their circumstances, and the issue of a Guidance in Bereavement booklet, which offers help and guidance for families of servicemen or women who die while in Service. Also, much more robust arrangements for long-term contact through the Casualty Visiting Officer have been introduced.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely costs to his Department in the first quarter of 2005 of compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 16 November 2004]: The Ministry of Defence has made wide-ranging preparations for the full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act. The cost of compliance is being met from existing resources, and there has been no requirement to identify anticipated costs or to collate them centrally. To collect the necessary information now would involve disproportionate cost, and the final part of Exemption 9 (voluminous or vexatious requests) of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information therefore applies.
Implementation of the Act principally involves staff who also have other duties. The effort which they devote to Freedom of Information issues in the first quarter of 2005 will depend on a range of factors, including the number of requests for information received in each area, the complexity of those requests, the ease with which it can be established whether relevant information is held, and the number of appeals lodged by dissatisfied requesters.
Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the funded liability is for (a) officers and (b) other ranks in the Army in (i) each year since 1997, (ii) 200405 and (iii) 200506; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence issues a Defence Council Instruction explaining the procedures for electoral registration and notifies personnel of election announcements. Those overseas, or absent from their normal place of duty or home in the United Kingdom, have the option to appoint a proxy or elect for a postal vote.
Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date each amendment made in the last 30 years to the General Security of Information Agreement between the United Kingdom and United States, dated 14 April 1961, was made; and through which designated security authorities information under this agreement is channelled. 
Mr. Hoon: The 1961 United Kingdom/United States General Security Agreement concerns the protection of any classified information exchanged between the parties and not just defence information. As the UK National Security Authority the Cabinet Office is the ultimate UK authority for this Agreement. Amendments were made to this Agreement on 5 July and 19 December 1983. In April 1984 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the US Department of Defense (DoD) negotiated a supplement to the Agreement covering an industrial security annex. This annex was reviewed and replaced last year when a new Security Implementing Arrangement for operations between the MoD and the DoD was signed on 27 January 2003. Information received by UK Government Departments under the 1961 Agreement is normally transmitted through Government channels and falls under the responsibility of the respective departmental security officer. Each UK Government Department has available to it guidance governing the handling of sensitive material generally, including that which is issued by international organisations or governed by international Agreements.
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