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2 Nov 2006 : Column 636Wcontinued
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list those of his Department's documents concerning deaths in Deepcut barracks that have been (a) requested and (b) placed in the public domain under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Mr. Ingram: There have been eight separate requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000, which relate to the four deaths at Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut. Apart from the information provided to the families of the deceased soldiers, none of the requested documents have been placed in the public domain:
Declined: Article 8 of Human Rights Act (right to privacy and private life) and Health Records Act 1990
correspondence generated by each Service Police investigation;
FOI section 30 (investigations and proceedings conducted by public authorities)
Relevant files concerning the Service Police handling of death of Pte Cheryl James
Clarification of requirement requested, but applicant failed to respond
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of those individuals criticised in the Blake Review have been subject to (a) legal and (b) disciplinary action. 
Mr. Ingram: I am not yet in a position to expand on the answer I gave to my hon. Friend on 8 May 2006, Official Report, column 28W, on disciplinary and administrative action. Inquiries of this nature can take some time and I will therefore write to my hon. Friend once they are complete, and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on the updating of the Defence Technology Strategy. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Technology Strategy was published on 17 October and a copy is available in the Library of the House.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department on (a) chartering aircraft and (b) non-scheduled air travel, in each of the last five years. 
Mr. Ingram: Expenditure is not recorded separately for charter and non-scheduled air travel and the Department does not centrally record all costs associated with commercial air travel. This information can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
The total expenditure for commercial air travel that has been arranged and recorded centrally, for each of the last five financial years, is as follows:
£32,972k of the expenditure in 2006-07 is attributable to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when 24687829 Cpl Neil Roberts, a constituent of the hon. Member for North-East Milton Keynes, who was discharged from the 9/12th Lancers on 27 March, will be sent his discharge papers and testimonial. 
Derek Twigg [holding answer 9 October 2006]: In accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, I am unable to comment or make public any personal data relating to Corporal Roberts unless the relevant conditions are met.
Mrs. Humble: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers and soldiers have (a) died and (b) collapsed as a result of exertional heat illness since 2000. 
Derek Twigg: Since the year 2000, coroners' inquests have found that one Reservist Private, one Regular Army Corporal and one RAF Senior Aircraftsman (and no officers) have died as a result of heat related conditions.
We are awaiting the inquests into three deaths for which we have no specified cause of death.
Comprehensive figures on the number of personnel who have suffered from exertional heat illness (EHI) could only be compiled by examining the medical records of individual patients. Medical records can only be viewed for non-clinical reasons with the express consent of the individual concerned, to protect patient confidentiality.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 October 2006, Official Report, column 1149W, on first world war pardons, if he will place in the Library copies of submissions made by (a) historians and academics and (b) governments of other countries. 
Derek Twigg: I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours, on average, were spent in simulator training per month by pilots of (a) Tornado F-3, (b) GR variants, (c) Jaguar and (d) Harrier planes during the last year for which figures are available. 
Mr. Ingram: In the period September 2005 to September 2006 the average number of simulator hours for front line pilots of each fast jet type is as follows:
Mike Penning: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14 November 2005, Official Report, column 915W, on noise-induced hearing loss, how many people are in receipt of war disablement pension due to noise-induced hearing loss. 
Derek Twigg: The operation of the War Pension Scheme and the data recorded in the war pension computer system do not allow the question to be answered directly. War pensions are not awarded for individual conditions, but for the total degree of disablement due to service, assessed on a percentage basis. This overall assessment normally takes account of all conditions that are attributable to, or aggravated by, service.
Data from the war pension computer system (WPCS) indicates that at 30 June 2006 there were approximately 44,000 pensions in payment for noise-induced hearing loss with no claim for any other medical condition. There were also some 33,000 pensions in payment in cases where noise induced hearing loss was one of a number of conditions accepted as attributable to service. It is not possible to say in these cases whether the pension included an amount in respect of the hearing loss: noise-induced hearing loss of less than 50 dB is not included in the assessment on which the pension is based if the claim was made after January 1993 and WPCS data do not distinguish between cases where the pension includes an element for noise-induced hearing loss and those where it is excluded. In addition, the data show around a further 30,000 cases with noise-induced hearing loss accepted as attributable to service with an overall assessment below the level that would attract an ongoing pension.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research he has undertaken into (a) the number of additional claims for compensation and war disablement pensions on the grounds of hearing loss
which would be paid if the threshold were lowered to (i) 44dB and (ii) 35dB and (b) what the additional cost would be. 
Derek Twigg: It is not possible to define thenumber of additional claims for compensationand war disablement pensions if the noise-induced sensorineural hearing loss compensation threshold was lowered to 44dB or 35db. However, following a series of meeting with officials my predecessor wrote to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) on17 March 2006 informing them that it would cost the MOD in the region of £140 million per year if the Department reduced its noise-induced hearing loss compensation threshold to 35dB. This figure was based on data, for 30 June 2005, from the war pension computer system which shows approximately 105,000 cases with an overall assessment of between 1 per cent. and sixty per cent. with NISHL accepted as attributable to service. It does not take account of cases for which there are no records held on the computer system, or any new claims that will be made if the compensation threshold is reduced.
All of the research work so far undertaken by the Ministry of Defence into the number of additional claims for compensation and war disablement pensions on the grounds of noise-induced hearing loss has been on the impact of lowering the compensation threshold to 35db. There has to date been no research into the impact of a reduced compensation threshold of 44db.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he took account of the procedures used by the French Ministry of Defence to ensure that animals are no longer used by the French Navy in hyperbaric experiments when establishing his Departments policy on such experiments. 
Derek Twigg: The Defence Scientific Advisory Council (DSAC) reviewed alternative methods to animal research in escape and rescue in 2003 and took into account both the experimental and modelling work being carried out by the international research community. This review confirmed the need for continued investigation into sequential improvements in escape and rescue procedures and the necessity of experiments on large animals.
UK data are shared with other countries that use the UKs escape system, including France, through NATO and other scientific forum; hence they have a reduced need to undertake animal experiments. We are aware that France, like the UK, has a mathematical model of decompression sickness that is used to support diving but not for submarine escape where the rates of pressure change and exposure conditions are different.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what extent British Royal Military Police and Army personnel are embedded with police units in southern Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: There are currently no British Royal Military Police (RMP) or other Army personnel embedded in police units in southern Iraq. There are however a number of RMP and specialist advisers providing mentoring and specialist advice.
Six police transition teams, generally made up of four RMPs and four civilian international police advisers, are currently providing advice in police stations in Basra. The number of RMP in Basra was recently increased by one platoon to provide support to security operations in Basra.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how British armed forces personnel are overseeing the police intelligence units at their new offices in Iraq; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: There are no UK military personnel currently providing support to Iraqi Police Service intelligence units. UK civilian police advisers provide support to organisations such as the Department of Internal Affairs, the Tactical Support Unit and, by the end of 2006, the National Information and Intelligence Agency.
Michael Gove: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) financial support and (b) support in kind his Department and its agencies have given to the Muslim Council of Britain in each year since 1997. 
Derek Twigg: No financial support or support in kind has been provided by the Ministry of Defence to the Muslim Council of Britain.
Mr. Francois: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many events were held on National Veterans Day in June 2006; and where each event was held. 
Derek Twigg: I understand that the total number of Veterans Day Events held in celebration of Veterans Day 2006 exceeded 200. A number of local events were not held on Veterans Day itself, with local communities in some cases preferring alternative timings to build on an existing planned event or to allow a weekend celebration. As the majority of these events were organised without the involvement of the MOD, the Department does not have data on the exact number or location of all events.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the Royal Navys annual longevity tables for 1997-98 to 2005-06. 
Mr. Ingram: Officials are collating the information and I will write to the hon. Member when this has been done and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
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