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Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what crèche facilities are provided by his Department; and at what cost. 
Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence provides 36 crèches (benefiting 700 children) providing occasional care and 70 pre schools (benefiting over 2,000 children) providing education on a sessional basis, primarily for Service families.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the (a) annual cost and (b) total value of the empty properties owned by (i) his department, (ii) his agencies and (iii) other public bodies for which he has had responsibility in each of the last two years. 
Mr. Caplin: Estimates of the annual cost and total value of empty freehold properties owned by this Department in each of the last two years, and for which the Ministry of Defence has responsibility, are outlined in the following table:
|Serial (a)||As at 31 March each year||Estimated annual cost of empty properties (£ million) (b)||Estimated value of empty|
properties (£ million) (c)
These figures are based on empty Service Families Accommodation. The number of empty freehold properties fluctuates on a daily basis, due to the frequent movements of Service personnel.
Mr. Keith Simpson:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ex-Gurkha soldiers fall outside the
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1997 Hong Kong Agreement with regards to work rights, residency and citizenship in the United Kingdom. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 29 November 2004]: We estimate that there are up to 24,000 former British Army Gurkhas who left between the separation of British Gurkhas from the Indian Army in 1947 and 1 July 1997, and do not qualify under the new HM Forces Immigration Rule. However, any applications received from these ex-Gurkhas will be considered by the Home Office on the basis of their individual merits.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria have been used in deciding the status of Gurkha soldiers who have been refused the right to work, reside and apply for UK citizenship. 
Mr. Caplin [holding answer 29 November 2004]: The implementation and interpretation of immigration rules is a matter for the Home Secretary. Further policy guidance will be published on the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate website shortly.
Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the regimental recruiting area is of the King's Own Scottish Borderers. 
Mr. Caplin: The traditional recruiting area for the King's Own Scottish Borderers is Dumfries and Galloway, Lanarkshire (part of), The Borders (part of) and Berwick upon Tweed.
These areas are not, however, fixed. Individuals expressing an interest in a regiment or corps that did not recruit in their home area would not be refused entry.
Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the operational deployments of the King's Own Scottish Borderers have been since 1997; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The details of the operational deployments for the King's Own Scottish Borderers since 1997 are not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost. I can, however, provide the details from January 2000. Deployments have been defined as unaccompanied battalion level operational tours.
The battalion has twice deployed to Northern Ireland; from June to November 2000 and September 2001 to March 2002; and to Iraq from July to October 2003. The battalion was also deployed intermittently in late 2002 and early 2003 on Operation Fresco firefighting duties.
Glenda Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when recruits to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers will begin their basic training. 
All potential recruits who pass the selection process are allocated a training place in accordance with the Army Training and Recruiting Agency's Recruit Allocation Plan. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, a part of the Queen's Division, is allocated
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places on training courses at the Infantry Training Centre Catterick every month (except December when no courses are run).
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health which senior NHS staff approved the advertising feature in NHS Family Choice Magazine promoting Popzone; and what criteria are used to determine from which suppliers advertisements are accepted for inclusion in the magazine. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: The Department does not produce NHS Family Choice magazine. It is not responsible for the content of the magazine and does not support or endorse any of the content. A private sector company called Cyworks plc produces the magazine. The Department has repeatedly requested Cyworks to stop using the NHS letters as part of the magazine title. To date all such requests have been ignored.
Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his Department's policy is towards age discrimination. 
Ms Rosie Winterton: There is no place for unfair discrimination in the Department or national health service (NHS) on the grounds of age. The Department's commitment to its staff not to discriminate unfairly on the grounds of age is set out in its equal opportunities policy. The national service framework for older people made the clear statement that age discrimination would not be tolerated in access to health and social care, and the NHS plan reinforced the value of diversity and commitment to equality of opportunity within the NHS work force.
Mr. Wilshire: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on his Department's negotiations with Capio UK regarding the planned provision of a treatment centre at Ashford hospital (Middlesex). 
Mr. Hutton [holding answer 7 December 2004]: Discussions between the national health service sponsors, the Department and Capio continue and, subject to a satisfactory outcome to those discussions, it is expected that the contract will be closed in time for services to commence in April 2005.
Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how many employers' liability claims in the NHS have been recorded by the NHS Litigation Authority in each year since 1997; and if he will estimate the total potential cost to the NHS; 
(2) if he will list the 10 main causes of claims for employers' liability in the NHS in the last period for which figures are available; and what the costs to the NHS were of each. 
Mr. Hutton: The liabilities to third parties scheme (LTPS) is a risk-pooling scheme for national health service trusts, NHS foundation trusts, primary care trusts and special health authorities which provides indemnity for non-clinical risks such as employers' and public liabilities. The scheme was introduced in 1999 and is operated by the NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA).
Table 1 shows information provided by the NHSLA on the number of employers' liability claims that were notified to them since 1999.
|Number of claims||Total cost of claims (£)||Total paid (£)||Outstanding estimate (£)|
Table 2 shows information provided by the NHSLA on the 10 main causes of claims for employers' liability since the scheme commenced to the current date.
|Cause||Number of claims||Total cost of claims (£)||Total paid (£)||Outstanding estimate (£)|
|Slip or trip||3,046||34,244,569||12,791,323||21,453,246|
|Road traffic accident||36||164,687||48,015||116,672|
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