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Mr. Ingram: The Service Police Report resulting from the Royal Military Police (Special Investigation Branch) investigation into the fatal attack of 13 May on British troops serving in Basra is not yet complete. Service Police Reports are not made public, although they are provided to the relevant Coroners Office for use at the inquest.
It has yet to be decided whether a Service Board of Inquiry into this incident will be held. If there is to be a Board of Inquiry, its findings will be made available to the next of kin of the deceased once it is complete.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what changes (a) have been made and (b) are planned to (i) concessionary travel, (ii) living allowances, (iii) other allowances and (iv) compensation for each of the armed forces as a consequence of the introduction of Joint Personnel Administration; and if he will make a statement. 
Willie Rennie: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions his Department has had with the US Defense Department on sharing of (a) stealth technology and (b) flight control software for the Joint Strike Fighter project. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 27 June 2006]: As part of the continuing process of preparing to operate the Joint Strike Fighter as a sovereign capability, Ministers and senior officials have had a wide range of discussions with US counterparts on all aspects of the Joint Strike Fighter programme. As my noble Friend, the Minister for Defence Procurement, has previously explained in another place, those discussions have raised the issue of information access and explained the UKs requirements for operational sovereignty. These detailed discussions continue and we remain optimistic that they will be successful.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the results of MBDAs first test firing of the Meteor beyond-visual-range air-to-air missile on 9 May; and whether the development of the Meteor missile is on schedule. 
Mr. Ingram: The first firing of a Meteor missile took place on 9 May. The missile maintained full guidance control throughout its planned flight. Data were successfully collected during the flight and the debris was recovered. A second firing was successfully conducted on 20 June, the data from which are now being analysed.
Mr. Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the (a) Storm Shadow air-launched cruise and (b) Brimstone anti-tank guided missile, with particular reference to deployment in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan; and whether it is meeting military requirements. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence conducts assessment of its weapons systems on a regular basis. Details of these assessments cannot be released as this could prejudice the safety and security of our armed forces.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what right of appeal is available to a trainee in the UK armed services discharged as a result of being discovered to be at risk following an assessment made as a part of the suicide vulnerability risk management policy. 
There are a number of reasons why service personnel could be discharged from the armed forces, such as for medical reasons, on compassionate grounds, or because the individual is thought to be temperamentally unsuitable to service life. If a service person does not agree with the reason for their discharge, they have the right to submit a redress of complaint. If an individual is discharged on medical grounds they may also submit an appeal to a Medical Appeal Board.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether evidence from experiments conducted in (a) existing and (b) proposed hydrodynamic testing facilities will be used to support the decision on whether to reuse or replace the Trident warhead pit. 
Des Browne: Evidence from hydrodynamics experimentation, both current and future, represents an essential supporting element in all decisions in connection with UK warhead assurance and in-service life.
Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the (a) Trident missile, (b) nuclear warheads, (c) guidance systems and (d) submarine launch platforms are each expected to be (i) no longer available and (ii) beyond refurbishment. 
Des Browne: The expected life of each element of the UKs nuclear deterrent was set out in a memorandum provided by the Ministry of Defence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, which was published on the Committees website on 20 January 2006 (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm20 0506/cmselect/cmdfence/835/835m04.htm).
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the likely effect on child poverty of proposals in A New Deal for Welfare: Empowering People to Work to introduce the Employment and Support Allowance. 
Mr. Jim Murphy: We believe that work is the best route out of poverty. It builds family aspirations, fosters greater social inclusion and can improve an individuals health and well-being. Our Green Paper sets out proposals aimed at achieving an employment rate equivalent to 80 per cent. of the working age population. We will do this by reducing the number of people on incapacity benefits, by helping lone parents into work and by increasing the number of older workers.
We propose to significantly reduce the number of people claiming incapacity benefits through a three pronged approach: reducing the number of people who leave the workplace due to illness; increasing the number leaving benefits and better addressing the needs of all those on benefit with additional payments to the most severely disabled people.
Work is still under way in relation to the proposals, and an assessment of the potential impact on child poverty will form part of this. We are currently reviewing the DWP contribution to reducing child poverty across all current and planned policies and, in the autumn, we will be setting out our new strategy for how we can make faster progress towards reaching our goal of halving child poverty by 2010.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many and what proportion of cases recorded on the Child Support Agency old rules scheme would pay (a) increased and (b) decreased payments if migrated to the new rules scheme. 
Mr. Plaskitt: For those cases with a full maintenance assessment on the child support computer system (CSCS) in February 2006, we estimate that around (a) 60 per cent. would have an increased liability and (b) 40 per cent. would have a decreased liability if the new scheme rules were applied to their current reported circumstances.
We estimate that the majority of changes in maintenance liabilities will be for less than £10 per week. To give non-resident parents and parents with care time to adjust to their new amount, most changes are phased in by fixed annual steps.
Source: Child support computer system five per cent. extract, February 2006.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average number of Child Support Agency staff who are involved in each case from first application to the establishment of regular payments. 
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many unprocessed cases were held by the Child Support Agency during each month of the last year for which figures are available; 
In reply to your recent Parliamentary Question about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently out of the country, I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his latest estimate is of the backlog of new claims held by the Child Support Agency.
You also asked how many unprocessed cases were held by the Child Support Agency during each month of the last year for which figures are available.
As at March 2006, the Agency had a total 333,000 uncleared potential applications. This consisted of 66,000 old scheme applications and 267,000 new scheme applications. These figures can be found in table 1 and table 2.1 of the latest issue Agencys Quarterly Summary Statistics (QSS), a copy of which is available in the House library.
The following table shows the number of uncleared potential applications across both schemes for each month of the last year.
Although the total volume of uncleared potential applications fell by 8% between January 2005 and March 2006, the Agency recognises that this remains unacceptably high. The Agency therefore has a 2006/07 target to ensure that, by March 2007, the volume of new scheme uncleared applications outstanding at March 2006 is reduced by 25 %.
|Number of uncleared potential applications across both schemes, March 2006|
|Total agency uncleared applications||New scheme uncleared applications||Old scheme uncleared applications|
1. The definition of an uncleared potential application differs between new and old schemes. Old scheme cases are considered cleared when they have been processed through to an assessment. New scheme cases are only considered cleared when they have received a calculation and have a payment schedule in place.
2. These figures include all uncleared potential applications from those received in the latest month to those received more than a year ago.
3. Numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what his latest estimate is of the average time it takes the Child Support Agency to bring cases from first application to assessment; 
(2) how many and what proportion of eligible parents received their first payment from the Child Support Agency within the target time of six weeks in each month of the last year for which figures are available. 
In reply to your Parliamentary Questions about the Child Support Agency, the Secretary of State promised a substantive reply from the Chief Executive. As he is currently out of the country, I am responding on his behalf.
You asked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what his latest estimate is of the average time it takes the Child Support Agency to bring cases from first application to assessment.
You also asked how many and what proportion of eligible parents received their first payment from the Child Support Agency within the time limit of six weeks in each month of the last year for which figures are available.
As at the end of March 2006, of those cases that progressed to calculation since the introduction of the new scheme, the average time from first contact to calculation was 181 days (26 weeks). Of such cases, 24 per cent received a calculation in less than 6 weeks; 48 per cent between 6 weeks and 6 months; 16 per cent between 6 months and a year; and 12 per cent took more than a year.
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