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Mr. Ingram: Ascension Island fulfils a strategic role as a staging post in support of our Defence interests in the South Atlantic. This role will continue for as long as necessary to protect the right of self-determination of the inhabitants of the South Atlantic Overseas Territories.
Mr. Crabb: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the amount of Brazilian beef procured for departmental establishments in the last year for which figures are available. 
This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All travel is conducted in accordance with the guidelines set out in the civil service management code and in the most cost-effective manner.
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Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many compensation payments to civilian prisoners of the Japanese were made before the introduction of the birth link criterion; and on what basis they were paid. 
Mr. Touhig: In view of my statement to the House on 12 December 2005, Official Report, columns 111921, reliable information is not currently available on how many payments to civilians interned by the Japanese were made before the introduction of the birthlink criterion. During my attendance at the evidence session of the Public Administration Select Committee on 1 December 2005, I announced that I had set in hand a review to look at the criteria used for deciding claims under the ex-gratia payment scheme. As part of this, we are examining when the birthlink criterion was applied for deciding applications from former civilian internees. I expect the review to conclude shortly. I will make a further statement to the House on the findings of the review as soon as possible thereafter.
Mrs. Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will reply to the letter of 11 November 2005 by the hon. Member for Mid Bedfordshire on Gulf War Syndrome; and if he will make a statement. 
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when Alan Garwood's contract as Head of Defence Export Services ends; what steps have been taken to appoint a successor; who will be on the appointment panel; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Touhig: Mr. Alan Garwood was seconded to the Ministry of Defence in September 2002 on a three-year contract with the possibility to extend the contract to a maximum of five years. The contract has already been extended to cover the period to September 2006. No action is yet required to find a successor.
Mr. Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) direct and (b) indirect jobs are provided by the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering, Cosford, in (i) Shropshire and (ii) the West Midlands region. 
I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 2 February 2006, Official Report, columns 70102W to my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-East (Mr. McFadden).
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Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether civilian staff may be employed on his Department's premises before basic security check by the Defence Vetting Agency has been carried out. 
Mr. Ingram: Ministry of Defence policy requires a Basic Check (BC) to be carried out for all civil servants, including casual, temporary and work experience staff, prior to the date from which they start their employment. The Basic Check forms part of the MOD's system of protection against risks from terrorism, espionage and crime by providing assurance about the identity and integrity of individuals who have access to MOD assets and establishments. Exceptionally, in the case of short term contractors who only require physical access to MOD sites (with no access to classified information) for less than two weeks, there is provision for the requirement for BC to be waived, providing that measures are taken by the establishment concerned to control access, including, where possible, escorting.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many applications for (a) security checks and (b) developed vetting the Defence Vetting Agency has processed in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Ingram: The following numbers of applications for security checks and developed vetting, including vetting reviews, have been completed in each of the last five complete years. The figures exclude applications that were cancelled during the vetting process:
|Security checks||Developed vetting||Total|
Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on entertainment by his Department in 200405; and how much of that sum is accounted for by (a) food, (b) alcohol, (c) staff and (d) accommodation. 
Mr. Touhig: Information on expenditure on hospitality and entertainment" for the financial year 200405 has been published at Note 3 of our Annual Report and Accounts, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will break down the (a) main estimate, (b) winter supplementary estimate and (c) spring supplementary
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estimate Request for Resources (i) 2 and (ii) 3 provision by (A) direct resource departmental expenditure limit (DEL) and (B) indirect resource DEL for financial years 19992000 to 200405. 
John Reid: Prior to the introduction of Stage 2 Resource Accounting and Budgeting (RAB) in financial year 200304, indirect RDEL did not exist as a budgeting aggregate, and I therefore provide figures for Request for Resources 2 for financial years 200304 and 200405.
|Total conflict prevention costs:|
|Winter supplementary estimate||1,140.000||1,139.900||0.100|
|Spring supplementary estimate||236.910||221.910||15.000|
|Total conflict prevention costs:|
|Winter supplementary estimate||0.000||0.000||0.000|
|Spring supplementary estimate||899.524||866.386||33.138|
Request for Resources 3 is for the payment of war pensions and allowances, which was the responsibility of the Department of Work and Pensions until financial year 200203. All costs are classified as annually managed expenditure (AME), rather than as Resource DEL, and there are no separate direct and indirect controls on AME. The total figures published in the estimates, are therefore not split between direct and indirect elements. Copies of the estimates are available in the Library of the House.
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