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Mr. Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether her Department has made an assessment of the possible effect on freedom of the press in Venezuela of the decision of the Venezuelan Government not to renew broadcast licences for television stations. 
Mr. Hoon: It is important that decisions of this kind follow established procedure and clear legal guidelines and do not unlawfully impinge on the independent medias right to express their opinions freely. The legal position surrounding the Venezuelan Governments stated decision not to renew the licence of Radio Caracas Television is unclear, but widespread concerns have been expressed about its impact on the medias future scope to operate free from Government pressure or censorship. We hope that the Venezuelan Government will work to ensure that press freedom is fully protected.
Mr. Todd: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his Departments response to the Office of Fair Tradings report The Commercial Use of Public Information. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) does not intend to submit a formal response to the Office of Fair Tradings report, The Commercial Use of Public Information. However MOD have been assisting the Department of Trade and Industry who will be providing the Government response to the report.
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding on the logistical support to the Estonian company participating in the International Security Assistance Force mission within the British Task Force. 
Des Browne: After consultation with the Estonian Government regarding the release of these documents, I am releasing the main text of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). I will place a copy in the Library of the House.
Des Browne: Rules of Engagement detail the levels of permissiveness for the application of force in all environments across a wide range of activities in which our forces may be employed. Profiles do not constrain the inherent right of self-defence, and neither do they provide detailed tactical instructions to commanders.
Our Rules of Engagement entitle our forces to take reasonable and necessary action in self-defence in response to mortar and rocket attack. The commander in situ would use his military judgment to determine what would be the most appropriate means to counter the attack at the time.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what groundwater contamination remedial measures have been necessary as a result of the Laser building project at AWE Aldermaston; and what the cost was of such measures. 
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 14 February 2006, Official Report, column 1891W, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Airdrie and Shotts (John Reid). Since construction work commenced on the Orion laser building project, no remediation work has been required.
Mr. Vaizey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 22 January 2007, Official Report, column 1555W, on ammunition (1) what security arrangement are in place for consignments which are held or stored on the contractors property for periods that do not exceed 48 hours; 
Mr. Ingram: The range of security measures used to protect MOD munitions while temporarily held on the contractors property is the same for all periods of time. These measures include notification to the British Transport Police and regular checks of the train by the contractors personnel.
The MOD and its rail freight contractor English, Welsh and Scottish (EWS) Railway Limited have launched an urgent joint review into security arrangements at all rail yards and sidings used to hold MOD trains following the incident on 12 January 2007.
Mr. Ingram: Army personnel receive a wide remuneration package, which in addition to their basic pay, includes specialist pay, for example, Flying Pay or Parachute Pay, to recruit and retain them in specific branches or arms within the service. Various allowances are also payable covering:
Subsistence and messing
Compensation and reimbursement.
Free medical and dental care;
30 days annual leave;
Sports facilities and adventurous training;
Family support ranging from the provision of service childrens education schools, for families based overseas, to information and community centres;
A resettlement package for personnel about to leave the service The Operational Welfare Packagea package of entitlements provided to personnel in certain operational theatres;
Discounted rail travel for service personnel and their families for off-duty journeys;
British Forces Post Officeallows service personnel and their families to send mail to and from overseas at UK postage rates;
Forces discount brochure, which lists commercial providers who offer marginally preferential terms to service personnel.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average annual pay is for (a) a private, (b) a captain, (c) a major, (d) a lieutenant colonel and (e) a colonel in the British army. 
|Rank||Rate of pay (£)|
The rates quoted are for basic pay which is paid in accordance with an individuals rank, length of service and, in the case of other ranks, trade. They therefore exclude specialist pay, paid to recruit and retain personnel in specific arms/branches of the Army, or any compensatory allowances.
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 30 January 2007]: All diesel fuel purchased by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for use in military vehicles and equipment may contain up to 5 per cent. biofuel, in accordance with EU Directive 2003717/EEC. Fuels are obtained in numerous consignments from a wide variety of sources and locations and there is no requirement for MOD to record exactly what proportion of biofuel each supplier uses. The cost of biofuels is therefore not available.
Mr. Paice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of food served (a) in buildings occupied by his Department and (b) to UK armed forces personnel was of British origin in (i) 2005 and (ii) 2006. 
Mr. Ingram: Information on the proportion of food served of British origin in non-military catering establishments within the Department is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.
The Food Supply Contractor procures approximately 1,200 different products for the UK armed forces. The percentage of UK-produced goods changes regularly as a result of seasonality, value for money incentives, changes to the product specification and supplier. Some products are manufactured using a number of ingredients, others, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, are sourced seasonally from a variety of countries. The information requested is not therefore available.
It is, however, possible to be specific about the proportion of meat sourced from British farms under this arrangement. In financial year 2005-06 under the previous Food Supply Contract 42 per cent. of beef, 100 per cent. of pork and 5 per cent. of the lamb supplied was of British origin. Under the new food supply contract which commenced in October 2006, 55 per cent. of, beef, 100 per cent. of pork and 3 per cent. of lamb by volume has been procured from British farms to date.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether members of the Indian Army are eligible to claim under the scheme for compensation for British civilian prisoners of the Japanese. 
Mr. Ingram: Former members of the Indian Army who were held as prisoners of war by the Japanese may be eligible for payment under the UKs Ex Gratia Scheme for former Far East Prisoners of War and civilian internees. To qualify, claimants must have met the following criteria:
been British at the time they were held;
have remained as members of the Indian Army throughout their captivity; and either
have received payments under article 16 of the 1951 Treaty of Peace with Japan under the auspices of the British Government; or
have been a citizen of a country that did not make its own treaty arrangements with Japan after WWII; or
have counted as being resident in the UK (or, after 1 November 1993, in another European Union member state) for at least 20 years between 1 January 1945 and 7 November 2000.
Mr. Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons he decided to apply a 20 year rule for connection with the UK on his scheme for compensation of British civilians of the Japanese. 
Mr. Ingram: Next month we expect to place a contract to enable disposal of 50 per cent. of the Multiple Launch Rocket System M26 stockpile over the next three years. It is envisaged that this munition will be removed completely by 2013 as new capabilities are introduced. A contract for the disposal of a significant quantity of the remaining BL755 and RBL755 cluster bombs was placed on 22 January 2007. Similarly, it is envisaged that these munitions will be completely phased out by the end of 2010, as the new capabilities are introduced.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will write to the hon. Member for Forest of Dean as promised in the answers of (a) 2 November 2006, Official Report, columns 641-42W, on naval longevity tables, (b) 1 November 2006, Official Report, column 432W, on trained strength outflow, (c) 1 November 2006, Official Report, column 431W, on resettlement provision and (d) 24 October 2006, Official Report, column 1730W, on departmental accounts. 
Derek Twigg: I wrote to the hon. Member on 16 January 2007 about trained strength outflow and resettlement provision. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for the armed forces wrote to the hon. Member on 18 January about naval longevity tables and on 29 January about departmental accounts. Copies of all letters were placed in the Library of the House.
Mr. Ingram: Since 1998, defence spending plans have been set as part of the Governments Spending Review process. Prior to this, spending plans were set on an annual basis. The defence budget, drawn from the outcome of these reviews, is set out in the following table.
|Defence budget (£ billion)|
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