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Written Ministerial Statements

Thursday 24 November 2005


Culture and Audiovisual Council

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell): On 14 November I chaired the Education, Youth and Culture Council in Brussels, when the Culture and Audiovisual agenda items were taken. Patricia Ferguson MSP, Scottish Executive Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, represented the UK. Education and Youth issues were taken on 15 November.

I chaired a discussion over lunch regarding plans for the switchover to digital television. The aim of the discussion was to share experiences and exchange good practice. All Member States agreed that it was a big challenge, but one that is achievable. Many stressed the added value of digital television especially for minority groups and strengthening cultural diversity. Many felt that state aid may have a role to play in ensuring that minority groups were not left behind. It was noted that different Member States were using different technologies, partly reflecting their different backgrounds. Commissioner Reding (Information Society and Media) noted the close interest of Telecoms Ministers and suggested a joint meeting might be useful in the future.

The Council agreed partial political agreements on the MEDIA 2007 programme, which provides financial support for the European film industry, and the Culture 2007 programme, which will provide financial support for transnational co-operation projects in the field of culture. The budgetary aspects of these programmes will be decided once the financial perspectives have been agreed.

With regard to the Culture 2007 programme, a compromise was reached on the wording relating to the eligibility of non-audiovisual cultural industries, which made clear that EU funding could not be used to support profit-making activities. On comitology, Member States unanimously agreed that all projects applying for an EU contribution of over €200,000 (£135,000) should be submitted to the management procedure. The minimum number of operators participating in projects was also agreed.

The Council agreed to a general approach on the proposal to improve the selection and monitoring procedures and the EU dimension of the European Capital of Culture Programme. In addition, the Council designated Linz and Vilnius as Capitals of Culture for 2009 and nominated the Council's two representatives (Mr Claude Frisoni and Sir Jeremy Isaacs) for the selection panel looking at the proposed Capitals for 2010.
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I also chaired an exchange of views regarding the Commission's proposals to develop European digital libraries. All Member States spoke in support of further work on European digital libraries and the great majority supported the Commission's proposed approach of developing a network of digital libraries, rather than supporting a single, central library. Some felt that the latter option would be too costly and instead preferred to build on ongoing work. Co-operation with other Member States would avoid duplication and allow common standards to be developed so that digitised material could be shared more easily. A number of Ministers asked the Commission to do more work on possible costs involved and noted that decisions needed to be taken on what would be funded by the Member States and what would be funded by the EU.

It was noted that there were a number of key issues, such as ensuring that intellectual property rights were respected and making sure the initiative promoted all European languages, including minority languages.

Commissioner Figel (Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism) welcomed the adoption of the UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity in October and noted that the Commission would soon bring forward a proposal for Community ratification. He also presented the Commission proposal for a European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in 2008.


Gulf Veterans

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Don Touhig): On 31 October, a Pensions Appeal Tribunal announced its decision in the case of Mr Daniel Martin. The Government welcome the acceptance by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal of the umbrella term Gulf War Syndrome to cover conditions causally linked to the 1990–91 Gulf War. The Government hope that the use of the umbrella term will address the known concern of some Gulf veterans that we have not recognised a link between their ill-health and the 1990–91 Gulf Conflict. We hope that this will help to provide an element of closure for those who have sought some acknowledgement that their ill-health is connected to their Gulf service.

The Government also welcome the decision by the Pensions Appeal Tribunal which found that there was no reliable evidence to show that Gulf War Syndrome is a discrete medical condition. This confirms the view which the Ministry of Defence has consistently taken and which is based on the overwhelming consensus of worldwide medical and scientific opinion.

The level of awards will not be affected by the use of the umbrella term as it has always been the policy of the Ministry of Defence to award in full where evidence of disablement is shown and where that disablement is due to, or aggravated by, service.

The issues surrounding the ill-health reported by veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf Conflict remain a priority for the Government. We have acknowledged that some veterans of the Gulf Conflict have become ill and that this ill-health may be related to their Gulf service. Since taking office in 1997, the Government have made it a priority to assist veterans or their dependants by
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providing medical help, initiating scientific research, making information available and providing financial assistance. We will continue this approach, as appropriate, for the future.

Future Infantry Structure

The Secretary of State for Defence (John Reid): On 16 December 2004 my predecessor announced to the House, Official Report, columns 1795–1800 (part no.6) volume 428, plans to re-balance the army and reduce the infantry from 40 to 36 battalions, with associated changes to the titles of the infantry battalions and regiments.

Since the announcement, significant further planning and consultation has been undertaken. This has seen detailed and extensive work, which has included a period of local consultation led by the regiments and divisions. As a result, and with the full approval of Her Majesty The Queen, I am happy to announce the new titles of the Regular and TA infantry regiments and battalions as follows:
Current Regimental/Battalion TitleNew Regimental/Battalion TitlesAbbreviation
The Guards Division
1st Battalion Grenadier Guards1st Battalion Grenadier Guards1 GRENGDS
1st Battalion Coldstream Guards1st Battalion Coldstream Guards1 COLDMGDS
1st Battalion Scots Guards1st Battalion Scots Guards1SG
1st Battalion Irish Guards1st Battalion Irish Guards1 IG
1st Battalion Welsh Guards1st Battalion Welsh Guards1 WG

The Scottish Division

The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Formation Arrangements: Regimental formation by the end of March 2006, with The Royal Scots and The King's Own Scottish Borderers Battalions of The Royal Regiment of Scotland, amalgamating on 1 August 2006.
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion The Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment)Amalgamates to become The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland1 SCOTS
1st Battalion The Royal Highland Fusiliers (Princess Margaret's Own Glasgow and Ayrshire Regiment)The Royal Highland Fusiliers, 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland2 SCOTS
1st Battalion The King's Own Scottish BorderersAmalgamates to become The Royal Scots Borderers, 1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland as above1 SCOTS(as above)
1st Battalion The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment)The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland3 SCOTS
1st Battalion The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)The Highlanders, 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland4 SCOTS
1st Battalion The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's)The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland5 SCOTS
Territorial Army Battalions
52nd Lowland Regiment 52nd Lowland,6 SCOTS
6th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland
51st Highland Regiment51st Highland, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland7 SCOTS

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The Queen's Division

The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)1 PWRR
2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)2 PWRR
Territorial Army Battalion
3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)3rd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires)3 PWRR The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers1 RRF
2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers2 RRF
Territorial Army Battalion
The Tyne Tees Regiment 1 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers5 RRF
The Royal Anglian Regiment

Regular Army Battalions
1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment1 R ANGLIAN
2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment2 R ANGLIAN
Territorial Army Battalion
The East of England Regiment 2 3rd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment3 R ANGLIAN

The King's Division

The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border)Formation Arrangements: Regimental formation 1 July 2006.
Regular Battalions
1stBattalion The King's Own Royal Border Regiment1st Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border)1 LANCS 2 LANCS
1st Battalion The King's Regiment 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border)
1st Battalion The Queen's Lancashire Regiment
The King's Division
Territorial Army Battalion
The Lancastrian and Cumbrian Volunteers4th Battalion The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment (King's, Lancashire and Border)4 LANCS 3 The Yorkshire Regiment (14th / 15th, 19th and 33rd / 76th Foot)Formation Arrangements: Regimental formation 6 June 2006.
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion Prince Of Wales's Own Regiment Of Yorkshire1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment(Prince Of Wales's Own)1 YORKS
1st Battalion The Green Howards (Alexandra,Princess of Wales's Own Yorkshire Regiment)2nd Battalion TheYorkshire Regiment(Green Howards)2 YORKS
1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington's Regiment(West Riding)3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's)3 YORKS
Territorial Army Battalion
The East and West Riding Regiment4th Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment4 YORKS

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The Prince of Wales's Division

The Mercian RegimentFormation Arrangements: The Mercian Regiment will form on 24 August 2007.
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion The Cheshire Regiment1st Battalion TheMercian Regiment(Cheshire)1 MERCIAN
1st Battalion TheWorcestershire andSherwood ForestersRegiment (26th/45th Foot)2nd Battalion TheMercian Regiment(Worcesters andForesters)2 MERCIAN
1st Battalion TheStaffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's)3rd Battalion TheMercian Regiment (Staffords)3 MERCIAN
Territorial Army Battalion
The West Midlands Regiment4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment4 MERCIAN The Royal WelshFormation Arrangements: Regimental formation 1 March 2006.
1st Battalion The Royal Welch Fusiliers1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welch Fusiliers)1 R WELSH
1st Battalion The Royal Regiment of Wales (24th/41st Foot)2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Regiment of Wales)2 R WELSH
Territorial Army Battalion
The Royal WelshRegiment3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh3 R WELSH

The Light Division

The RiflesFormation Arrangements: Formed in 2007.
Regular Battalions
1st Battalion TheDevonshire and DorsetLight Infantry and 1st Battalion The Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry1st Battalion The Rifles1 RIFLES
1st Battalion The Royal Green Jackets2nd Battalion The Rifles2 RIFLES
2nd Battalion The Light Infantry3rd Battalion The Rifles3 RIFLES
2nd Battalion The Royal Green Jackets4th Battalion The Rifles4 RIFLES
1st Battalion The Light Infantry5th Battalion The Rifles5 RIFLES
Territorial Army Battalions
The Rifle Volunteers6th Battalion The Rifles6 RIFLES
The Royal Rifle Volunteers7th Battalion The Rifles 4 7 RIFLES

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The RoyaL Irish Regiment (27th(Inniskilling), 83rd, 87th and Ulster Defence Regiment) 5

Regular Battalions
1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment1 RIRISH
Territorial Army Battalion
The Royal Irish RangersThe Royal Irish RangersRANGERS

The Parachute Regiment

Regular Battalions
1st Battalion, The Parachute Regiment 6 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment1 PARA
2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment2nd Battalion TheParachute Regiment2 PARA
3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment3 PARA
Territorial Army Battalion
4th Battalion, The Parachute Regiment4th Battalion The Parachute Regiment4 PARA

The Brigade of Gurkhas

1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles1st Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles1 RGR
2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles2nd Battalion The Royal Gurkha Rifles2 RGR

The London Regiment

Territorial Army Battalion
The London Regiment 7 The London RegimentLONDONS

1 Currently within the King's Division and not part of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
2 Currently not part of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
3 On formation in Jul 06 the new regiment will have 3 regular Bns with the TA Bn known as 4 LANCS. The 3 regular battalions will merge to form 1 LANCS and 2 LANCS in Mar 07. This is a change to the title announced in Dec 04; this is at the Regiments own request.
4 Formed from Bn HQ and 2 x Coys of RRV with 2 x Coys of LONDONS.
5 Not included are the Home Service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment who have not been subject to FAS.
6 As announced on 16 December 2004, 1 PARA will be the core of the new Tri-Service Special Forces Support Group, and will be removed from the infantry structure.
7 Currently within the Queen's Division.

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The Chief of the General Staff (General Sir Mike Jackson) has written to the Infantry Colonels Commandant informing them of these changes.

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