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Gulf War Veterans

Mrs. Iris Robinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Gulf War veterans in Northern Ireland are in receipt of (a) financial and (b) medical support provided by his Department. [28161]

Mr. Touhig: As at 30 June (the latest date for which figures are available), there were approximately 50 veterans in receipt of a war disablement pension whose service included operations in the Gulf Conflict with addresses in Northern Ireland. Others with a lower level of disablement may have received a gratuity award, but we do not have available figures for these. Not all the injuries or medical conditions claimed relate to service in the Gulf but our statistics do not enable us to distinguish the origin of the disablement. Veterans may also qualify for financial assistance through armed forces occupational pension schemes in addition to the
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normal social security benefits. Information on the numbers of veterans in receipt of benefits under the occupational schemes are not recorded.

127 1990–91 Gulf veterans, with addresses in Northern Ireland have attended the Gulf Veterans' Medical Assessment Programme (GVMAP), based at St. Thomas's Hospital, London. GVMAP patients with mental health issues are referred to specialised centres, including those administered by Combat Stress. Approximately 25 per cent. of the 53,462 veterans who deployed to the Gulf in 1990–91 are still serving and their medical care is the responsibility of the Defence Medical Services. The Department may under the provisions of the War Pension Scheme defray expenses in respect of medical treatment that is not provided free of charge under other United Kingdom legislation. Information is not available on the number of payments made under this provision in Northern Ireland.


Peter Law: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of (a) health problems of British troops returning from serving in Iraq and (b) the causes thereof. [21158]

Mr. Touhig: As a result of the lessons identified during the 1990–91 Gulf conflict, the Ministry of Defence took early action to put in place a large scale epidemiological study to monitor the physical and psychological health of personnel who served in Operation Telic. This research is being undertaken by King's College, London and the results are expected to be published in 2006.


Anne Snelgrove: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve the efficiency and accuracy of the issuing of medals. [22685]

Mr. Touhig: A number of measures, including the introduction of new information technology and an additional medal engraving facility have recently been introduced, and our procedures for the issuing of medals remain under continuous review.

Since forming in March of this year, the Ministry of Defence Medal Office has reduced the overall backlog of medal applications from 50,000 to some 24,000. With the exception of a handful of human administrative errors, all have been handled accurately.

Military Airfields

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records are maintained of US civil registered aircraft landing at UK military airfields. [28785]

Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence maintains a record of all civil registered aircraft that have landed at UK military airfields, including aircraft registration numbers, the name of the pilot and the departure date and destination of the aircraft.

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records are maintained of individuals who arrive into the UK at military airfields on US registered aircraft. [28786]

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Mr. Ingram: Where individuals have arrived in the United Kingdom on aircraft registered with any nation and stay in the UK, their details are passed by the Ministry of Defence to HM Revenue and Customs and the Immigration Service in accordance with standing military instructions and the local stipulated requirements of those organisations. Such details are not necessarily retained by the MOD.

Where aircraft transit through military airfields, to refuel for example, and passengers do not leave the airfield, the MOD records the names of the pilot and aircraft owner but does not record the details of passengers; international and national aviation regulations do not require the recording of passenger information when transiting UK territory or airspace.

Military Flying Training System

Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the planning assumption is for entry into service of the UK military flying training system; what the forecast cost is for (a) spending on the assessment phase of the project and (b) the demonstration and manufacture phase of the project; and if he will make a statement. [27169]

Mr. Ingram: Initial service provision of the UK military flying training system (UKMFTS) will be set at the time of the main investment decision. We expect that we will spend up to £39 million during the assessment phase. UKMFTS is being procured as a public private partnership that does not have a conventional demonstration and manufacture phase.

RAF (Recruits)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits to the Royal Air Force there were in each of the last eight years; and how many he expects there to be in the next two years. [27619]

Mr. Touhig: For information relating to the last eight years I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to him on 10 November 2005, Official Report, column 709W.

The current forecasts for the next two years are:
Financial yearOfficersOther ranksRAF total

1. Figures are for UK Regular forces and therefore exclude Full Time Reserve Service Personnel and mobilised reservists.
2. Figures include intake from civil life and those already within the armed forces.

These forecasts are subject to change.

RAF Bases (Ministerial Visits)

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Royal Air Force bases Ministers have visited in the last 12 months. [27617]

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Mr. Touhig: Defence Ministers have visited 14 Royal Air Force stations in the last 12 months.

Random Drug Testing

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria are used in selecting departmental establishments for random drug testing. [27652]

Mr. Touhig: All service personnel are liable to compulsory drug testing and selection for testing of military units is carried out randomly. The Royal Navy tests all ships, establishments and Royal Marine units over a two year cycle; the priority for the Army is operational units which are liable for deployment to operational theatres; the RAF tests each of its large units at least twice per annum.

Royal Navy

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the Royal Navy's budget will be for each of the next five years. [29165]

Mr. Ingram: The defence budget is not broken down by individual service. Tables 2 and 3 of The Government's Expenditure Plans 2005–06 to 2007–08, Ministry of Defence (Cmd 6532), show the resource and capital spending plans of the Navy's two Top Level Budget holders, the Commander-in-Chief Fleet and the 2nd Sea Lord/Commander-in-Chief Naval Home Command, in the years 2005–06 to 2007–08. Spending plans for later years will be determined by the outcome of the comprehensive spending review and the subsequent departmental planning round.

Service Discharges

Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces have been discharged as unfit in each year since 1990 from each service. [28280]

Mr. Touhig: The following table shows trained outflow due to medical reasons from UK Regular forces:
Financial yearTotalNaval serviceArmyRAF

(16) Denotes figures unavailable.
1. UK Regular Forces includes nursing services and excludes Full Time Reserve Service personnel, Gurkhas, the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists and Naval Activated Reservists.
2. Figures include trained outflow from recalled reservists on release.
3. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

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