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20 Dec 2004 : Column 1370W—continued

Eurofighter Typhoon

Mr. David Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timescale he plans for the implementation of Tranche 3 of the Eurofighter Typhoon project. [205901]

Mr. Ingram: Under the Eurofighter Typhoon four-nation Memorandum of Understanding, contracts for the implementation of Tranche 3 do not need to be placed before 2007.

Future Rapid Effect System

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent the changes to the Army's force structure is linked to preparations for the Future Rapid Effect System and the development of a medium force. [202987]

Mr. Ingram: The changes to the Army's force structure are underpinned by two complementary changes. The first is the move towards a more balanced force organised around two armoured, three mechanised, a light and an air assault brigade.

The second is making the Army more robust and resilient to the challenges of sustaining the enduring expeditionary operations that have become the norm in recent years. Strengthening our key enabling capabilities such as engineers, logistics and intelligence is vital to this work.

These structural changes will be supported by a re-equipment programme, which includes the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES). This will modernise the armoured vehicle fleet and will be key to our medium weight capability. In turn, it will enable us to address the current shortfall in our rapid deployment capability, which is set to become increasingly important in the emerging strategic environment.

FRES is but one element of our re-equipment programme. Other enhancements include new communications equipment such as Bowman and Falcon, enhanced intelligence collection assets such as Watchkeeper and Soothsayer, and modern vehicles such as Panther. Taken together, and along with the move toward a more balanced force, these equipments will help to ensure that our Armed Forces are optimally suited to face the challenges of the future.
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Gulf War-related Illnesses

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set up an ex-gratia scheme to deal with claims for Gulf War-related illnesses; and if he will make a statement. [204942]

Mr. Caplin: The Ministry of Defence does not consider that there is a case or justification for making ex-gratia payments to 1990–91 Gulf veterans and thus giving one group of veterans more favourable treatment than others who served in different conflicts. Gulf veterans can and do receive compensation in the form of war pensions and attributable armed forces pensions which are already available to ex-servicemen who suffer illness or injury as a result of their service.

The number of veterans in receipt of war pensions or gratuities for unspecified, symptomatic Gulf-related illnesses is approximately 1,400, less than 3 per cent. of the personnel who served in the Gulf. Additionally, only some 100 claimants have failed to receive an award for Gulf-related illnesses, not the 272 stated in the recent report of the unofficial investigation by Lord Lloyd of Berwick. On 29 November 2004, Official Report, column 354, I announced that the Ministry of Defence will investigate and review these approximately 100 cases where they can be identified.

Military Clothing

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the garment which the Minister of State indicated on 8 December 2004, Official Report, column 156WH, had been tested by four separate test houses was a camouflage garment printed and manufactured in China. [205505]

Mr. Ingram [holding reply 16 December 2004]: The garment tests I referred to relate to the testing of fabric samples that were printed and manufactured in China.

Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether, during his Department's assessment visit to factory 3533 in China, officials saw British Army camouflage fabric being (a) processed and (b) manufactured. [205506]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 December 2004]: Ministry of Defence personnel visited China as part of the agreed contract management plan. Under the terms of the contract, the prime contractor does not wish to publicly disclose sub-contractor information and I therefore cannot reveal the detailed information requested.

Personnel Surveys

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list recent surveys he has conducted on bullying in the armed forces, broken down by the date (a) carried out and (b) results were published; and if he will make a statement. [204036]

Mr. Caplin: The details of surveys since 2002 by the three services which include questions on bullying are as follows:
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Naval Service

The Naval Service does not undertake a specific survey on bullying although the Naval Continuous Attitude Survey routinely carries questions on bullying along with issues concerning discrimination and harassment. These questions were agreed on a tri-service basis and have been common to all services since November 2002. Survey details are as follows:
ConductedResults published
June 2002September 2002
September 2002January 2003
January 2003May 2003
September 2003December 2003
September 2004Estimate March/April 2005


The Army conduct Serving Personnel (SP) Continuous Attitude Surveys which cover a range of questions including bullying. Survey details are as follows.
ConductedResults published
April/May 2002March 2003
December 2002December 2003
August 2003April 2004
December 2003August 2004
June 2004Report in progress

The Army also recently carried out additional surveys as follows:
Survey titleConductedResults Published
TA personnel surveyMay 2003December 2003
TA personnel surveySeptember 2004Report in progress


Details of the RAF Continuous Attitude Surveys since 2002 are as follows:
ConductedResults published
2002February 2004
2003September 2004
2004Summer 2005

The RAF also conducted the following specific surveys:
Survey/survey datesReporting dates
Racial Harassment, Racial Discrimination and Bullying
2001May 2002
2003November 2003
Sexual Harassment, Sexual Discrimination and Bullying
2000August 2000
2002June 2002
2004July 2004

Although the numbers of complaints of ill treatment are now small, the armed forces see no room for complacency and aim to confront unacceptable behaviour at every opportunity. The services' policy is
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unequivocal: no form of harassment or intimidation will be tolerated and all allegations are investigated and appropriate action taken.


Mr. Salmond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Under-Secretary of State and Minister for Veterans will respond to the letter of 16 November 2004 from the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan regarding RAF Buchan redundancy payments. [206010]

Mr. Caplin: I wrote to the hon. Member on 6 December 2004, within our 15 working day target for answering ministerial correspondence.

Royal Navy Test Reactor

Llew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the current status is of the dispute between the United Kingdom and the European Commission over the provision of data on the Royal Navy test reactor Jason in connection with its decommissioning since 1998. [204327]

Mr. Ingram: The case concerning the decommissioning of the Royal Navy's training and research reactor, Jason, was heard at the European Court of Justice before a Grand Chamber on Tuesday 12 October. The Advocate General published his Opinion on Thursday 2 December. It is expected that the Court will deliver its judgment in 2005.

Scottish Regiments

Mr. Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which Scottish Infantry Regiments he has visited since 1 January 2004; and on what dates the visits were made; [201003]

(2) which headquarters of Scottish Infantry Regiments (a) he and (b) his Ministers have visited since 1 January; [201537]

(3) on which dates since 1 January (a) he and (b) his ministers have visited (i) Headquarters 2nd Division in Craigiehall, Edinburgh and (ii) 52 (Infantry) Brigade; and if he will make a statement. [201689]

Mr. Ingram: The Secretary of State has not specifically visited any of the individual Scottish Infantry Battalions, Headquarters 2nd Division or Headquarters 52nd (Highland) Brigade since 1 January 2004. He has, however, met personnel of a number of Scottish regiments during visits to operational theatres; for instance he has met members of the 1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's) while visiting Iraq in June this year. Most recently, on 8 December, the Secretary of State met personnel from the Scots Guards and the 1st Battalion The Black Watch, who were deployed in Iraq.

I have visited the rear party of the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (The Highland Regiment) in Warminster; and the Regiment Headquarters and Associates of both
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the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's) and The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons) located in Stirling and Inverness respectively.

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