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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many tests have been carried out on primates in military research in each of the last five years; and what the scientific basis is of the tests. 
Mr. Ingram: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down undertakes research involving non-human primates as part of the overall research programme to provide the UK and its armed forces with safe and effective countermeasures in the event of chemical or biological agents being used against them.
Dstl Porton Down submits annual returns to the Home Office detailing the number of procedures undertaken which involve the use of animals as defined in the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. In the years 2001 to 2005 the annual returns to the Home Office for non-human primates are detailed in the following table.
|Number of procedures on non-human primates|
The use of animals is only a very small aspect of the overall military research programme. The role of Dstl protecting the UK and its armed forces requires it to answer questions and develop solutions to problems that cannot currently be addressed without the use of animals in research. The use of animals is only undertaken if there is no suitable non-animal system which can be used.
Dstl pays particular attention to the relative strengths and weaknesses of different animal models. Species selection is a critical feature in optimising the confidence with which animal-derived data can be extrapolated to man. Non-human primates are reserved for pivotal bridging studies designed to answer questions primarily concerned with nervous system function, behaviour and aspects of immunology.
(i) to refine nerve agent pre-treatments and therapies,
(ii) to assess vaccines and therapies against anthrax,
(iii) to develop an effective animal model for hookworm infection with a view to utilisation in vaccine studies,
(iv) to evaluate the hazard to man of new, emerging threat agents,
(v) to investigate the possible interactions of multiple vaccinations.
Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the suitability of the Snatch Land Rover for operations in Iraq; what steps he is taking to safeguard British troops in Iraq; and what off-the-shelf purchases to replace or supplement Snatch Land Rovers have been made since the start of the military action in Iraq. 
Mr. Ingram: Commanders need a range of vehicles to be used as they see fit to meet the mission and counter the threat. The Snatch Land Rover will remain an appropriate vehicle for some tasks, but the need to provide enhanced protection against the threats currently faced in Iraq and Afghanistan was a key factor in the decision to procure rapidly a suite of new Protected Patrol Vehicles.
We announced on 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 74WS, the procurement of almost 400 vehicles with improved protection for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, including Mastiff (the UK variant of the Cougar), Vector and Bulldog (up-armoured FV430). These will provide commanders with a range of vehicles of varying protection, mobility and profile, to be used according to operational circumstances.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department allocated towards missile defence research and development in (a) 2004, (b) 2005 and (c) 2006; and what the allocation is for 2007. 
Des Browne: The expenditure on such research, spent through the UK Missile Defence Centre, was £6.411 million in financial year 2004-05, and £2.733 million in financial year 2005-06. The current financial year budget is £5.345 million, and the planned budget for 2007-08 is £5 million.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK personnel from his Department were seconded to the US Missile Defense Agency in (a) 2005 and (b) 2006; what the expected number is in 2007; and how many US personnel were seconded to the UK Missile Defence Centre in each year. 
Des Browne: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave on 25 July 2006, Official Report, column 1545W, to the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Howarth). There are no current plans to change these numbers in 2007.
Des Browne: The Missile Defence Centre continues to focus on providing scientific and technical advice to the Ministry of Defence on strategic missile defence matters, and supports UK industrial opportunities in this area. It also supports US work on high technology programmes related to their own missile defence programme, including assessments of the consequences of missile intercepts, and the demonstration and testing of hardware.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether classified material relevant to the United Kingdom nuclear deterrent was compromised in the recent reported leak of documents from Los Alamos nuclear weapons laboratory. 
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect on the continuation of (a) Devonport and (b) Faslane naval base of a decision not to proceed with a new generation of the nuclear deterrent. 
Des Browne: Officials are working to prepare for decisions on the future of the UKs nuclear deterrent. This work is considering the implications for support infrastructure. It remains our intention that these decisions will be taken later this year, following which we will publish a White Paper.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his estimate is of the number of British troops that will continue to take part in Operation Enduring Freedom operations from 1st August 2006. 
UK trainers supporting Afghan National Army development in Kabul will also remain under coalition command, and the UK will continue to provide a number of embedded staff officers in the coalition headquarters. Overall, this amounts to around 180 personnel.
Chris Huhne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will answer question 71799 tabled on 16 May 2006; and if he will make a statement on his Departments policy on answering parliamentary Questions. 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on extending the widow's and widower's pension under the armed forces pension scheme to post-retirement marriages; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: Ex-service and widows' groups continue to campaign to make retrospective certain pension improvements that have been made since they left the armed forces. One such improvement is in respect of the change in 1978 to the requirement for a widow/widower to have been married to the ex-serviceman or woman during their service in order to receive certain benefits.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the annual revenue yield from the introduction of an employee pension contribution of 6 per cent. of pay for all members of the armed forces; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The armed forces pension schemes are final salary based, non-contributory, contracted-out occupational pension schemes open to most members of the armed forces. The MOD does, however, make a substantial contribution into the schemes each year for current members, currently the overall contribution equates to 24.8 per cent. of the armed forces pay bill.
The non-contributory nature of the schemes was last reviewed as part of the major overhaul of the schemes which were introduced through the Armed Forces (Pensions and Compensation) Act 2004. The Government decided against an employee's contribution at that time because of the complexity of introducing a contributory scheme alongside a non contributory scheme, the administrative complexity and the cost of the change, the impact on personnel of issuing different rates of pay for the same job and the effect on morale, recruitment and retention (HC1155 dated 25 July 2002). The changes made as a result of the review addressed the matter of long term affordability, such as increases in longevity, by rebalancing the provision to take account of modern pension practices and legislative change, and by changing the preserved pension ages.
The Armed Forces Pay Review Body, in their recommendations on the total remuneration package for the armed forces, makes an adjustment to comparator earnings figures to take account of the higher relative value of the armed forces pension scheme benefits against that of pension schemes of comparator private sector organisations. The non-contributory nature of the scheme is one of the factors taken in to account. The level of the adjustment made is currently 7 per cent.
The MOD has not previously made an estimate of the annual revenue yield from introducing an employee contribution of 6 per cent. Taking the armed
forces pay bill for 2005-06 as a basis for the calculation, a 6 per cent. employee contribution would equate to £342 million.
Mr. Greenway: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what procedures he has put in place under Project Haven and Project Scribe to invite applications from ex-service personnel who believe they may be entitled to compensation under the initiatives; 
(5) what procedures he plans to put in place to ensure that ex-service personnel whose claim for compensation under Project Haven or Project Scribe is refused can have their case independently assessed; 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence fully publicised Project Haven in the national media and in ex-service organisations publications, along with information on our websites. All material advised how an individual could make a claim to correct their tax status. In Project Scribe there was no national media campaign; however, information about the error regarding Armed Forces Pension Scheme invaliding pensions, was sent to all individuals who were in receipt of a War Pensions Scheme disablement pension, widows or widowers pension, in the form of a War Pensions Newsletter. This group of pensioners were at risk and therefore they were advised how to make a claim. In addition, information was posted on our websites, and towards the end of the review ex-service organisations kindly published details about the error and how to make a claim in their publications.
In both projects individuals were not invited to make a claim for compensation but to contact the Department to correct the tax status or level of their pension and claim any back payments of pension or tax. Once an individual had been identified as receiving incorrect payments etc. interest was paid in accordance with Government Accounting and HM Revenue and Customs rules and additional recompense as agreed by the Department.
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