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Ann Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people joined the Regular Army in each of the last 12 months; what percentage of those recruits became full combatants; and how many (a) officers, (b) non-commissioned officers and (c) privates left the Regular Army in each month. 
Derek Twigg: In the timescale available, it is not possible to provide the detail required. However, Tri Service Publication 4 (TSP 4) for 1 July 2006 provides the information on recruits and Army personnel numbers and copies are available in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: The MOD is aware of the technical options of using biometric technology and is exploring its feasibility to analyse physical and behavioural characteristics. MODs current priorities for this technology are in the areas of Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (C4ISTAR). Further planning in this area will be taken forward as implementation of section B3 of the Defence Technology Strategy, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence publishes data on battle and non-battle casualties that have resulted from our operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, dating from March 2003 for Iraq and January 2006 for Afghanistan. The centrally available casualty statistics can be found on the Ministry of Defence website:
Between March 2003 and 31 December 2005 there were 230 UK military and civilian personnel treated at UK medical facilities in Iraq for wounds received as a result of hostile action. These figures are derived from the best records currently held centrally but do not include those treated in the medical facilities of Coalition partners.
Separate records, from notification of casualty reporting (NOTICAS), for the same period in Iraq, show that some 40 UK military and civilian personnel have been categorised as very seriously injured (VSI) from all causes, and that some 70 personnel have been categorised as seriously injured (SI) from all causes including as a result of hostile action.
Since the beginning of the year, we have sought to collect better information on those suffering wounds as a result of combat. Between 1 January and 30 September 2006, 47 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to the Shaibah Role 3 Medical Facility in Iraq categorised as wounded in action, including as a result of hostile action.
Between 1 January and 31 August 2006, 41 UK military and civilian personnel were admitted to UK and Coalition medical facilities and categorised as wounded in action, including as a result of hostile action, in Afghanistan.
For other medium-sized operations since 2001, such as the Balkans, data on casualties have not been centrally compiled. We are exploring the feasibility of collating data for these deployments so they may be published. I will write to the hon. Member when work is complete, and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: No weapon currently used by the MOD is operated with a built-in failure rate, as it is designed to operate effectively. Our weapon systems are expected to have optimum reliability in order to achieve maximum effectiveness on the battlefield.
Critical examinations, including physical and chemical condition and bomblet fuse functional testing is carried out routinely, confirming the weapons are safe to keep in the inventory and continue to provide an acceptable operation capability.
Related information on munitions testing was released earlier this year, under the Freedom of Information Act. I am arranging for copies of that letter to be placed in the Library of the House (ref: 06-02-2006-145827-009).
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what expenditure on (a) buildings and (b) insurance of buildings and staff was of (i) his Department and (ii) each (A) non-departmental public body, (B) executive agency and (C) other public body for which his Department is responsible in (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, (3) each English region and (4) Northern Ireland in each of the last three financial years; and what the planned expenditure is for 2005-06 in each case. 
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the items valued at over £100 that have been reported as stolen from buildings occupied by his Department in the past 12 months. 
Derek Twigg: Details of items reported as stolen are held centrally on a summary basis and relate primarily to reported suspected theft by Crown personnel and contractors of stores and equipment, usually recorded as multiples or combinations of items such as tools, items of clothing, foodstuffs etc. Not all of these have a value attributed when reported or can be readily identified as having been stolen from buildings. The following list identifies groups of related or like items reported as stolen during the year calendar year 2005 with an estimated collective or unit value exceeding £100.
Computers, related peripherals and office equipment
Tools, ladders and related items
Vehicles, vehicle parts and spares, generators and compressors
Clothing and personal equipment
Cameras, binoculars and night vision equipment
Communications and radio equipment
Weapon related equipment
Susan Kramer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many disabled people were hired by his Department in each of the last five years for which figures are available; what percentage of the overall work force these figures represented in each year; and how many disabled people left their employment in his Department over the same period. 
Derek Twigg: The following table shows the number of declared disabled people in the last five years who have joined the Department, the percentage who have joined as a proportion of the total workforce and the number who have left:
All data have been rounded to the nearest five. Percentages are calculated from unrounded data.
The total work force includes all departmental employees including casuals and those not directly funded by the Department such as staff on loan to other government Departments or NATO, and staff on career breaks or absent through long term sickness. Disability status is not available for Royal Fleet Auxiliary or Locally Engaged Civilians, therefore these have been excluded.
Harry Cohen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will (a) carry out an age audit of its staff to establish an age profile of its work force, (b) negotiate an age management policy with trade unions and employees to eliminate age discrimination and retain older workers, (c) identify and support training needs and offer older staff flexible working to downshift towards retirement and (d) extend to over-fifties the right to request to work flexibly and the right to training with paid time off; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The armed forces are exempt from the age related provisions of the Article 13 Employment Directive 2000 and the Employment Equality(Age) Regulations 2006. This is because all armed forces personnel need to be combat effective in order to meet a worldwide liability to deploy.
However, in respect of MOD civilian personnel, the Department carries out regular age audits of its staff and is fully aware of the age profile of the MOD work force and has an overall age policy which has been agreed by the trade unions and which covers all age requirements.
In respect of older workers, on 1 April 2006, following a departmental review, we changed our normal retirement age (NRA) for all grades below the senior civil service to age 65. We have always been willing to consider applications for extension of service beyond the Departments NRA for business reasons but this October we reviewed our policy to ensure compliance with the Age Regulations. Employees approaching retirement can apply to stay beyond age 65 and we will consider their application on its merits. In the near future we will review the requirement for a departmental NRA.
The training needs for all staff are considered at least annually as part of the Performance Assessment and Development Review and all staff are able to request to work flexibly and have access to relevant training.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 6 November 2006]: Reliable figures showing service personnel based in Germany are only available from the 1 July 2005. These figures are shown in Tri Service Publication 6, Global Location of UK Regular Forces (TSP 6).
TSP 6 is published quarterly; the most recent publication shows the numbers of Service personnel at 1 July 2006. Copies of TSP 6 are held in the House of Commons Library and also available on www.dasa.mod.uk.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the (a) quarterly and (b) annual downgrading reports for each financial year and quarter since 1997-98. 
Derek Twigg: In 2002, the Ministry of Defence began work to produce quantifiable information on medically downgraded personnel in the regular UK armed forces in terms of both overall prevalence and the causes and medical conditions that had led to the downgradings. These reports were for internal personnel and medical management purposes only. The majority were produced with unrounded numbers and thus disclosive of sensitive personal information. These reports cannot be made non-disclosive without incurring disproportionate cost.
From the October 2004 position date, the publication Numbers Medically Downgraded was produced on a quarterly basis with rounded numbers until April 2005 when it was discontinued. I will make arrangements for copies of these to be placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research his Department is conducting into the use by enemy forces of an electromagnetic pulse weapon on the UK mainland; and what steps he is taking to ensure measures are in place to counter the effects of such an attack. 
Mr. Ingram: Research programmes have been undertaken since the mid 1980s into the threat posed by electromagnetic energy, including high power microwave and radio frequency sources, to both military and civil electronics-rich systems. This research has produced guidelines and procedures to alleviate these effects, by using good equipment fabrication practice, shielding techniques and hardened circuit design.
Derek Twigg: Future plans for engineering training in the armed forces are dependant on the outcome of the Defence Training Review (DTR) Rationalisation Programme, which is currently at an advanced stage of competition. I anticipate making an announcement on DTR later this year.
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