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Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) consultants and (b) special advisers were employed by his Department in each year since 1997; what the cost of each was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
Specific data on the number of consultants employed by the Ministry of Defence is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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However, summaries of MOD expenditure on External Assistance, of which consultancy is a part, are available in the Library of the House for the years 199596 to 200405.
With respect to Special Advisers, this information is collated separately and is announced to the House at the end of each Parliamentary session. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister announced on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 161WS, that the MOD had two Special Advisers who were employed within Special Advisers Pay Band 2 and 3 respectively.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons the average number of whole-time equivalent persons employed by his Department increased in financial year 200405 compared with 200304. 
Mr. Touhig: The increase in the average number of full time equivalents from 200304 to 200405 was due to a temporary increase in the number of permanent and casual civilian staff and an increase in the number of locally employed civilians in Iraq and Sierra Leone. The overall trend, however, is downwards. Since April 2004, the total number of civilians employed by the Department (including its trading funds) has reduced from 109,050 full time equivalents to 106,270 (1 October 2005).
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the exact roles and responsibilities of each member of the Future Carrier Alliance are; when he will have a clear indication of the accurate costings of building the two new aircraft carrier ships; what the current budget for building the two new aircraft carriers is; whether French shipyards will have a role in the building of the hulls of the two aircraft carriers; and what meetings he has held with other Government Departments on the Defence Industrial Strategy work. 
Mr. Ingram: Roles and responsibilities within the Carrier Alliance will be underpinned by commercial arrangements designed to align all parties to common project objectives. The industrial participants will agree contracts which will set out clearly their responsibilities in terms of areas of work related to the Carriers and the interface between the various parties, the risk that each party is taking on and where the accountability for each of these lies. These will form part of the overall shipbuild strategy and will be finalised when the main investment decision is taken.
Estimated costs are being constantly refined and will not be bound until the main investment decision, though we are confident that the continuing work to mature our cost, schedule and risk information will ensure the capability required is affordable.
Given that both the UK and France are embarking on major, complex carrier procurement projects, we are examining areas of mutual benefit and opportunities to deliver economies. It is for industry to put forward proposals which will be judged on their merits and in light of national policies.
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As one would expect in the development of any Government strategy which requires the perspective of several Government Departments, there have been a number of meetings at ministerial level with Ministers and officials from other Government Departments. These have included the Department of Trade and Industry, Her Majesty's Treasury and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving generals have never had operational responsibilities in a conflict zone; and how many have had no such responsibilities since 1995. 
Mr. Ingram: There are currently 56 General officers serving in the Regular Army, of whom 12 have never had any operational responsibilities in a conflict zone. All except one of the remaining 44 have had such responsibilities since 1995. The definition of a conflict zone excludes peace-keeping operations with the United Nations in Cyprus and service in support of the civil police in Northern Ireland.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research his Department is carrying out to establish whether the combination of immunisations against chemical and biological weapons given to service personnel before and during the 199091 Gulf war was medically harmful; and what the findings of the research have been to date. 
Mr. Touhig: A programme of research, overseen by an independent panel of experts, has investigated the possible adverse health effects of the combination of vaccines and tablets which were given to UK personnel to protect them against the threat of biological and chemical warfare during the 199091 Gulf conflict.
The core study in the programme has been undertaken at Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), Porton Down and involved monitoring for a range of effects in marmosets for up to 18 months following the administration of vaccines and/or pyridostigmine bromide (the active ingredient in nerve agent pre-treatment tablets). Interim results, announced on 1 April 2003, Official Report, column 55WS, have been published and showed no apparent adverse health consequences. Final results are expected to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication shortly.
A second study has investigated the specific combination of anthrax and pertussis vaccines. This work was carried out by the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. Publication of the final results was announced on 21 July 2005, Official Report, column 117WS. In mice, pertussis vaccine, vaccine combinations, or aluminium salt caused illness; anthrax vaccine produced little effect; diluted vaccine combinations produced less serious side effects of shorter duration. As the researchers pointed out,
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caution should be exercised in applying these results to humans because of the relatively high dosage used in the tests and the very different sensitivity to these vaccines in mice and humans.
A third study has examined whether staff from Dstl Porton Down who received multiple vaccinations, including anti-biological warfare vaccinations, in the course of their duties have higher levels of recorded sick leave than their unvaccinated colleagues. The results of this study will also be submitted for publication shortly.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes were made to the (a) number and (b) nature of the immunisations against chemical and biological weapons given to service personnel for service in the 2003 Gulf War compared with those given for service in the 199091 Gulf war. 
Mr. Touhig: A total of two immunisations against chemical and biological weapons were offered to service personnel deploying on Operation Granby (19901 Gulf war"). The immunisations were for anthrax (which was administered with a pertussis adjuvant) and for plague.
A total of two immunisations against chemical and biological weapons were offered to service personnel deploying on Operation Telic (2003 Gulf war"). The immunisations were for anthrax (without a pertussis adjuvant) and for smallpox. The latter was only offered to a small cohort of personnel which included nuclear biological and chemical specialists and medical personnel who would have been part of the first response in the event of a smallpox incident.
Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of the IT projects costing over £1 million in use in his Department and introduced since 1997 have been scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee; and if he will list them. 
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