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Yellowcake Production (Niger)

Lynne Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what reports the UK Government have received since 1998 about breaches of the IAEA inspection regime of yellowcake production in Niger. [203053]

Mr. MacShane: There is no IAEA inspection regime on the production of yellowcake. When Niger's Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (signed in June 2002) enters into force, Niger will be required to notify the IAEA of any exports of uranium ore unless the exports are for specifically non-nuclear purposes. Notification of exports for non-nuclear purposes will, likewise, be required when Niger's signature of the Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement enters into force.


Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what representations he had made to (a) the Zimbabwean Government and (b) the international community concerning the imprisonment of the Zimbabwe MP, Roy Bennett. [202943]

Mr. Mullin: We have made clear to the Zimbabwean Government directly and with our EU and other international partners that we condemn the abuse of their legal system and the harassment of opposition politicians. But it is our assessment that, given the Zimbabwean Government's stated hostility to HMG, and their claim that the Zimbabwean opposition are British sponsored, bilateral action on behalf of Mr Roy Bennett would be ineffective and possibly damaging to his interests.


Age Discrimination

Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department's policy is towards age discrimination. [200808]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence is an equal opportunities employer, committed to maximising opportunities for all staff and playing a central role in the drive to promote diversity in the public sector. This includes a commitment to ensure that there should be no unfair discrimination on the basis of age.
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The MOD will continue to keep its age policy under review in the light of forthcoming legislation.

Agency Staff

Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed by (a) the Warship Support Agency, (b) the Army Base Repair Organisation, (c) the Defence Aviation Repair Agency, (d) the Defence Bills Agency, (e) the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency, (f) the Non-deployable elements of the British Forces Post Office, (g) the Armed Forces Personnel Administration Agency, (h) the Pay and Personnel Agency and (i) the Met Office and Hydrographic Office; what the running cost of each body was in the last year for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement on the future of each body. [203760]

Mr. Ingram: A summary of staff numbers and net operating costs for all MOD's On-vote Agencies are listed in 'Defence Agencies', a supplementary document to the MOD Annual Report and Accounts which is available on the MOD website at This also gives details on staff numbers for MOD Trading Funds. Further details on running costs and future issues facing all MOD's On-vote Agencies and Trading Funds can also be found in the individual organisations' annual reports and accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

We will continue to keep all our On-vote Agencies and Trading Funds under review, in accordance with Government guidelines, to ensure that their functions are still required and that their status provides the most effective means of carrying out those functions.

Armed Services (Fitness)

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes have occurred to the entry level fitness tests for the armed services since 2000. [201858]

Mr. Caplin: Naval Service—A Pre-Entry Joining Fitness Test (PJFT) was introduced for all Royal Navy Ratings and Royal Marine Other Ranks in June 2003. No physical test existed for RN applicants before that date. The test involves running 2.4km (1.5 mile) on a running machine and the timings required for applicants to achieve a pass vary according to age and gender. Individuals are allowed three attempts to pass, with 28 days being allowed between attempts. The test and the results remain valid for one year. There have been no changes to these tests since they were introduced.

Army—Entry level fitness tests for soldiers can be split into two—Physical Selection Standards for Recruits (PSSR) and the Common Military Syllabus (Recruits) (CMS(R)) input standards. The former is conducted at the Recruit Selection Centre with the latter occurring on arrival at the Phase 1 training unit. The PSSR selects the physical potential and the CMS(R) input tests predict the likelihood of physical success during training. All tests are gender free and the standards are set by the Service Directorate relevant to the cap badge.
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Two changes to the PSSR were introduced in July 2003 based on scientific analysis. The Dynamic Lift Strength Test was 'capped' at 55 Kg and a Jerry Can Carry was introduced.

There have been no changes to the input standard tests for CMS(R) since 2000.

RAF—At present there are no entry fitness standards for RAF recruits. Airmen and airwomen recruits must, however, attempt the RAF Fitness Test (RAFFT) by the end of recruit training at RAF Halton. If they do not succeed in achieving the required standards, remedial fitness training is provided at their subsequent Phase 2 training school. The RAFFT was introduced in 1994. Its aim is to assess the physical fitness of all personnel (i.e. not just new recruits) on an annual basis.

Army Training

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the financial position of the Army Training and Recruitment Agency. [202267]

Mr. Caplin: Full details of the Army Training and Recruiting Agency's (ATRA) expenditure can be found in its published accounts as laid before Parliament on 6 July 2004 (Reference: HC 799).

The funding of the ATRA is reviewed as part of the MOD's Short Term Planning (STP) process. This routinely addresses changes to the Department's programme including variations in the training requirement.


Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the principal areas covered by departmental files contaminated by asbestos. [199853]

Mr. Caplin: Approximately 63,000 files were stored in the basement of the Old War Office Building where significant levels of asbestos contamination were identified. The basement area provided accommodation for three file stores: (1) the sensitive archive under the control of the Departmental Records Officer. This store provided accommodation for files from a wide number of branches across the Ministry of Defence, covering an equally wide range of administrative and operational subjects; (2) a Defence Intelligence Staff file store; and (3) a small store used by Air Historical Branch.


Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has to install a human centrifuge at the purpose-built site at RAF Henlow; and what he estimates the costs to be. [202983]

Mr. Ingram: There are no current plans to procure or install a human centrifuge at RAF Henlow.

Death in Service

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) regulations and (b) procedures are applicable in the (i) Army, (ii) Royal Navy and (iii) Royal Air Force, following the death in service of individual personnel, governing (A) who decides which personal items are not returned, (B) how personal
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possessions are returned to the next of kin, (C) where the items which are not returned are stored, for how long, and under whose responsibility and (D) what information is given to the next of kin about personal items which are not returned. [203102]

Mr. Ingram: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Defence Medical Services (Cyprus)

Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Defence Medical Services entered into an arrangement with Archbishop 3rd Makarios Hospital in Cyprus for the treatment of UK servicemen and women and their dependents; and what inspections the Defence Medical Services carried out of facilities available at the hospital in respect of ante-natal, neo-natal and maternity services before 27 September 1998. [200250]

Mr. Caplin: I will write to the hon. Member and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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