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Jim Fitzpatrick: Post Office Ltd. currently has contracts to provide the following Government services: benefit payments through Post Office Card Accounts and the Exceptions Service, motor vehicle licensing, Check and Send service for photocard driving licenses, Check and Send service for passport applications, provision of passport application forms, asylum seeker benefits, game licences, rod licences, European Health Insurance Cards and television licences (the contract for which expires on 31 July 2006).
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what has become of the liquid recovered as part of the clean up at Thorp Processing Plant completed on 14 June 2005; to where has it been removed; by what means; what the cost of the operation was; and whether this cost was met from the NIREX budget. 
Malcolm Wicks: The dissolver liquor that leaked from an accountancy tank in the THORP feed clarification cell was contained within a designed secondary containment system. The liquor was later pumped to downstream vessels where it remains pending subsequent processing. The work was carried out by British Nuclear Group on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The costs associated with the temporary closure due to the incident will be the subject of an insurance claim by the NDA.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much Ofcom spent on preparation for the auction of the award of Wireless Telegraphy Act 1998 licences in 2005-06; how much it plans to spend on preparations for the award of such licences in 2006-07; and if he will make a statement. Margaret Hodge: The matter raised is the responsibility of the Regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the Chief Executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member. Copies of the Chief Executives letter have been placed in the Libraries of House.
John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how much Ofcom spent in consultancy fees in preparation for the award of the recent Wireless Telegraphy Act licences for the frequencies 1781.7-1785MHz paired with 1876.7-1800MHz; and if he will make a statement. 
Margaret Hodge: The matter raised is the responsibility of the Regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) which is accountable to Parliament rather than Ministers. Accordingly, I have asked the chief executive of Ofcom to reply directly to the hon. Member.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on information technology (IT) sourced from outside his Department in each of the last five years; who is responsible for such projects in his Department; and what IT (a) expertise and (b) qualifications they possess. 
|Financial year||Operating costs?IT (excluding calls and line rental, etc)||Capitalised asset additionsIT and comms equipment|
The Director General Information acts as the Departments Chief Information Officer and sets policy for how the Department exploits information, as well as being Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for several of MODs largest IT programmes. The chief executive of the Defence Communications Services Agency is responsible for the organisation which procures the majority of the Departments IT. In addition to their own experience in delivering results in Government, the incumbents of these senior posts are supported by experts with the appropriate expertise and qualifications in specialist areas. All major programmes will have an SRO appointed who is responsible for delivery of that programme.
|Name of vessel||Date of agreement||Date expired|
Additionally, on 27 September 2002, a Licence Agreement was signed with Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., in respect of the Sussex, which sank in a storm in the western Mediterranean in 1694. This agreement provides that excavation and any recoveries are made in accordance with a strict set of provisions to ensure archaeological best practice.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has had discussions with marine salvage companies (a) Deep 6 and (b) SubSea Resources in respect of planned salvage operations on any British shipwreck for which it is responsible. 
Mr. Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the House of Lords judgment in the case of Barker v. Corus UK Ltd. on future spending plans of his Department in respect of expenditure on compensation payments for those suffering from mesothelioma. 
Mr. Watson: Currently, the Ministry of Defence receives around 50 mesothelioma claims each year. In the vast majority of claims brought against the Department the sole defendant is the MOD. Therefore, the financial implications of the House of Lords judgment in the case of Barker v. Corus UK Ltd. are likely to be minimal in respect of expenditure on compensation payments.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of 8 May 2006, Official Report, column 41W, on Porton Down, how many of the experiments were (a) wholly and (b) partly commissioned by (i) UK companies, (ii) foreign companies and (iii) foreign Governments; and if he will make a statement; 
(3) if he will list the (a) UK companies, (b) foreign companies and (c) foreign Governments with whom the results of animal experiments at Porton Down were shared; and if he will make a statement. 
DSTL participates in International Collaborative Programmes with other allied nations on behalf of the Ministry of Defence. These are conducted under signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to ensure the free and open exchange of information between the participating nations. DSTL is not a commercial contract organisation but does accept commercial contracts where these support MODs wider programmes.
All research work undertaken as part of these collaborative programmes is closely aligned to supporting, complementing and enhancing the MOD research programme. This exchange of information will include research involving the use of animals. This assists the advancement of the International research programmes and prevents the duplication of research funding. The participation by DSTL in these International Collaborative initiatives means that some aspects of the research programme will receive funding through foreign Governments, or their contractors. The research involving the use of animals is only a small sub-set of the overall collaborative research programme and is not accounted for separately.
In conducting any animal research, DSTL fully complies with all of the legislative requirements that are placed on research organisations licensed to undertake research involving animals, under the terms of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 as administered by the Home Office. This compliance includes a full ethical review of the proposed work where the benefits of saving lives have to justify the use of animals in research. This ethical review also ensures that there is no unnecessary duplication of animal-based research.
DSTL submits the results of its scientific research to peer reviewed open literature publications wherever possible. It is estimated that, security concerns included, 95 per cent. of DSTL research is published in the public domain. These publication figures include research involving the use of animals. Therefore, the results of the research, the development of techniques and alternatives are available to all researchers to review, regardless of which country they work in or whether they are employed in the commercial or Government sector.
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps his Department has taken to assess the need for support of the survivors of the British Army who were recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken prisoner of war on the Western Front in the second world war; 
(2) what arrangements are in place for support and financial assistance for members of the British Army who were recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken prisoner of war on the western front in the second world war; 
(3) what discussions have taken place between the Government and the Indian Government on the situation faced by members of the British Army who were recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken prisoner of war on the western front in the second world war; 
(4) what recent representations his Department has received with regard to the need for support and financial assistance to surviving members of the British Army recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken prisoner of war on the western front in the second world war; 
(5) what recent representations he has received on the support and financial assistance provided to former members of the British Army recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken as prisoners of war by Japan in the second world war; 
(6) what arrangements his Department has put in place in liaison with the Indian Government to assess the needs of the surviving members of the British Army recruited from the Indian subcontinent who were taken as prisoners of war by Japan in the second world war; 
(7) what support and financial assistance has been provided to former members of the British Army recruited from the Indian subcontinent and who were taken as prisoners of war by Japan in the second world war. 
Mr. Watson: The responsibility for meeting the needs of former members of the Indian Army who were taken as prisoners of war in the second world war generally passed to the Governments of the countries of which they became nationals when they gained independence in 1947.
Personnel recruited into the British armed forces from the Indian subcontinent and held as prisoners of war by the Japanese may be eligible for a payment under the United Kingdoms November 2000 ex gratia scheme for far east prisoners of war in the following cases:
former members of the Indian Army who were British subjects at the time when they became prisoners of war and who have since the war resided in the UK for at least 20 years;
members of UK-based units, including those that were locally recruited such as the Hong Kong and Singapore Royal Artillery (many of the latter were recruited in what is now Pakistan); and
members of certain other former colonial forces who had qualified for a payment under a 1950s compensation scheme based on liquidated Japanese assets.
I am aware of no recent discussions between the UK and Indian Governments on the problems faced by former Indian Army prisoners of war but each year the Department receives a number of communications from former members of the Indian Army who face financial hardship and inquire whether they are entitled to any financial support from the UK. We have no record as to whether these may have been held as prisoners of war during world war two.
Mr. Amess: To ask the Solicitor-General if he will list those (a) Acts and (b) parts of Acts which received Royal Assent between 1976 and 2006 for which his Department has policy responsibility and which remain in force. 
The Law Officers Act 1997
The Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate Act 2000
Those parts of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 which establish the Revenue and Customs Prosecutions Office.
The Law Officers also share responsibility with other Criminal Justice Ministers for a range of criminal justice legislation and take the lead on issues arising from the Prosecution of Offences Act 1985 and the Criminal Justice Act 1987.
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