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Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date his Department became a corporate member of Opportunity Now; what he expects to gain from membership; and what procedures have been agreed for the Department to exercise its membership responsibilities. 
Mr. Touhig: The Ministry of Defence became a corporate member of Opportunity Now on 30 June 2005. Membership of Opportunity Now will enable the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces to benchmark their policies and practices against those of other employers. Since joining Opportunity Now, representatives of the MOD and armed forces have taken part in a number of members' events and activities.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 15 December 2005]: To date, for operations in Iraq, there are 168 ballistic protection kits, which include ballistic floor covering, available for logistics vehicles. The Warrior armoured personnel carrier has bespoke fitted armour. However, a requirement for 99 sets of additional armoured protection has been met and a further 14 sets are on order. Applique" protective armour kits are not being provided for the Snatch Land Rovers used for patrol duties as they have integral ballistic protection.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many regular regiments of the (a) Army Air Corps, (b) Royal Engineers, (c) Royal Armoured Corps, (d) Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and (e) Royal Regiment of Artillery are (i) based and (ii)have their headquarters in Scotland. 
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what instructions he has issued to senior members of the armed forces on discussions and meetings they may have with hon. and right hon. Members; and whether guidance has been altered in the past two years. 
Mr. Ingram: No such instructions have been issued to senior members of the armed forces. However, central guidance exists for all members of the armed forces on dealing with inquiries from Members of Parliament and on visits by Members of Parliament to Defence establishments.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether orders for the necessary equipment have been placed in relation to the forthcoming deployment of United Kingdom personnel into southern Afghanistan; and whether preparations for the deployment are on schedule. 
As I said then, certain necessary preparations for a potential deployment of UK forces to southern Afghanistan, as part of the stage 3 expansion of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), are currently underway.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recommendations were submitted to the Service Personnel Executive Group following completion of the departmental feasibility study on increasing the number of women employed in armed forces' recruitment and initial training of recruits; and on what date these recommendations were discussed by the Group. 
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what timetable has been agreed for each stage of the process agreed for developing a range of options for using trained mediators to assist in the resolution of disputes; and on what date this report will be discussed by the Services Personnel Executive Group. 
Mr. Touhig: A paper identifying options for using trained mediators to assist in the resolution of disputes was circulated to the Service Personnel Executive Group on 16 December 2005 and will be discussed at its meeting on 19 January 2006.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 8 December 2005, Official Report, column 1498W, on the Shropshire Light Infantry, in what capacity the members of the Shropshire Light Infantry serve. 
Mr. Ingram: The Shropshire Light Infantry are currently serving as an element of the Force Protection Company for Headquarters of Multinational Division (South East) in Iraq. Their duties include the provision of security of the HQ's location by means of static sentries, control of entry and exit points, physical searches and patrols in the vicinity of the base. They are also providing escorts for patrols in the area of responsibility.
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the implications for the Smart Procurement Policy of the Prime Minister's recent statement at his monthly press conference that the recent performance of Swan Hunters should not preclude them from bidding for future work from the aircraft carrier programme. 
It remains the Department's policy that our relationship with industry is rooted firmly in project performance. The extent of any particular shipyard's involvement in the future carrier programme will be determined on a value for money decision, in addition to
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considering the capability, capacity, and resources of UK industry to meet the full range of planned naval programmes.
As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 14 December, subject to satisfactory contract and demonstration of value for money, the structure of the carriers above the hangar deck, some 40 per cent. of the shipbuild, will be open to competition and will allow an opportunity for the many shipyards and suppliers with the ability to undertake this work to compete and win work.
Mr. MacNeil: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department on taxi travel in the 200506 financial year; and what proportion of such travel was undertaken in each nation and region of the UK, including London. 
Mr. Touhig: I refer the hon. Member to the answers I gave on 19 July 2005, Official Report, column 1541W and 23 June 2005, Official Report, column 1146W, to the hon. Member for Monmouth (Mr. Davies). Additionally, the Department does not record in which nation or region of the UK, including London, the expenditure is incurred.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the failure rate of each type of unexploded ordnance which remains in British areas of responsibility in Iraq; 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 24 November 2005]: By far the greatest amount of unexploded ordnance in Iraq are munitions left from the Iran-Iraq war, mines laid by Iraqi forces, stores of ammunition and other ordnance abandoned by Iraqi military and paramilitary forces. There is a far smaller amount of unexploded ordnance employed by coalition forces during the Gulf War and the invasion of Iraq; this includes artillery shells and air-launched munitions, of which some will be cluster bomblets.
We can give no estimate of the failure rate of munitions used by the armed services of other nations and we do not have information on the specific types of unexploded ordnance of UK origin which remain in our area of responsibility. There is no reliable means of assessing the impact of unexploded ordnance on Iraqi civilians in the British area of responsibility since the end of the conflict.
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