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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of members of the armed forces pension scheme joined the scheme (a) before the age of (i) 20, (ii) 25, (iii) 30, (iv) 35, (v) 40 and (vi) 45 and (b) when they were over 45 years. 
Mr. Touhig: Service personnel do not actually elect to join the Armed Forces Pension Scheme; membership is automatic for all from age 18, for non-commissioned ranks, and age 21, for officers, or upon joining the service, whichever is the later.
Eligible widows/widowers of service personnel receive benefits under the scheme from the day following the date of death. Eligible children of deceased service personnel normally receive benefits until age 17, or until full-time education has ceased.
Mr. Ancram: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel from the 2003 invasion of Iraq on Operation Telic have since developed symptoms similar to those experienced by personnel from Operation Granby. 
Mr. Touhig: Information on all the illnesses reported by service personnel who have served on Operation Telic is not held centrally. Although the medical records of individuals who have left the services are held by each service at individual central locations, the records of personnel who are still serving are normally held at their unit medical centre.
As a result of the lessons learned during the 199091 Gulf conflict, the MOD put in place a large scale and longer-term epidemiological research plan to monitor the physical and psychological health of personnel who served in Operation Telic. If any unusual patterns of illness are found, they will be addressed as soon as possible. This research is being undertaken by King's College, London and is subject to independent oversight. The results are expected to be published this summer.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone) of 2 March 2006, Official Report, column 873W, on the nuclear deterrent, when he expects the preparatory work
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on possible options for the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent to be completed; how many personnel are involved; and at what annual cost. 
John Reid: It is too early to say how long it might take to complete the preparatory work in advance of decisions on the future of the UK's nuclear deterrent. It remains the case that decisions are likely to be taken in the course of the current Parliament but, as I said during Defence Questions on 23 January 2006, Official Report, column 1153, I am unlikely to receive papers on this for some time.
As I said during Defence Questions on 14 November 2005, Official Report, column 692, there are five people within my Department working full time on policy relating to the future of the UK deterrent. A number of other personnel are working part or full time on other aspects of this issue, but it is not possible to give a precise figure for the number of people involved in the process.
Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that those functions of his Department and its associated public bodies which he plans to privatise are not undertaken by companies based in countries whose interests conflict with those of the UK. 
Mr. Ingram: Royal Air Force Air Transport and Air Refuelling Squadrons have the flexibility to decide which weapons their crews should carry. RAF C130 aircrew operating in the most hostile environments have been carrying the SA80 weapon for many years.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what are the terms of the holiday time and pay of Territorial Army personnel on (a) a three month operational deployment and (b) a six month deployment; 
Members of the Territorial Army are paid the same daily rate of pay as regular soldiers throughout their period of mobilisation, according to their rank, trade and length of service. Any difference between the pay of reservists while mobilized and their normal Civilian earnings is paid by the Ministry of Defence up to a limit of £200,000 per annum. Reservists
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can also claim for additional expenses they incur as a result of being mobilisedfor example additional costs of childcare or care of a dependant relative.
The information requested relating to the average pay for Territorial Army (a) privates, (b) NCOs and (c) officers on deployment is not held centrally and can only be provided at a disproportionate cost.
Following three months of mobilised service in an operational theatre, an individual will be entitled to 19 days leave (eight days annual leave and 11 days Post Operational Tour Leave (POTL)). Following six months of mobilised service in an operational theatre, an individual will be entitled to 36 days leave (15 days annual leave and 21 days POTL).
Mr. Touhig: Terms of service for Territorial Army officers will be amended with effect from 1 April to allow for a common retirement age of 60, thus standardising previously disparate practice and removing the need for officers below the age of 60 to apply each year for an extension to service.
Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many (a) Territorial Army recruits have been enlisted and (b) Territorial Army personnel have qualified to become deployable in each of the last five years, excluding the Officer Training Corps; 
Mr. Touhig: Figures on the number of recruits are only available for the past two years. 5,710 recruits enlisted into the Territorial Army in 2004 and 6,430 in 2005. The number of recruits who have qualified to be deployable is not held centrally but the trained strength in each of the past five years is shown in the following table. All trained personnel may be deployed providing they are medically fit and have not been deployed within the timescales outlined in the Reserve Forces Act 1996.
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Mr. Touhig: As at 28 February 2006 the strength of the Territorial Army (TA) in Northern Ireland was 1,560, including the Queen's University Officer Training Corps (QUOTC) which is a Type B TA unit. The strength excluding the QUOTC was 1,339.
Mr. Touhig: I am pleased to observe that, as a result of Territorial Army (TA) Rebalancing, there will be an increased TA presence at the TA Centre in Chorley. The current medical detachment will become C Medical Squadron of 5 General Support Medical Regiment, increasing by up to 110 personnel. Additionally, a new detachment of 55 Military Intelligence Company of 5 Military Intelligence Battalion will be established there resulting in a further increase of about 18 personnel. It is currently planned that these changes will be fully implemented by late 2006.
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