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Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent representations he has received from military commanders in Afghanistan on the provision of (a) mine protected vehicles, (b) Chinook helicopters and (c) other equipment; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: Following my announcement on 24 July 2006, Official Report, columns 74-76WS, we have sent two additional CH-47 Chinooks to Afghanistan, making a total of eight, and increased the number of flying hours. This increased capability currently meets the operational commander's requirement and I have received no representations for additional helicopters. I have also received no representations for new mine protected vehicles. All requirements are kept under constant review. We regularly receive and action requests for a wide range of equipment. Some of these we can address through existing resources; other emerging requirements are met through the urgent operational requirement (UOR) process. The UOR process is an effective means of providing new capabilities or pieces of equipment for use in theatre; since the latest campaign started in April 2006, 261 UORs have been approved, of which 108 have already been delivered.
Derek Twigg: Service patients requiring prosthetic limbs will usually be treated at first in an NHS hospital, where they will be fitted with an initial basic limb. At the appropriate stage in their recovery they will be transferred to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) at Headley Court, Surrey.
DMRC is run by the armed forces and contains the Complex Rehabilitation and Amputee Unit, which became fully operational on 1 June 2006. Here, an individually moulded and appropriate prosthetic limb is manufactured on site and tailored to the specific patient. MOD also has a contract with an external prosthetics provider, whose personnel attend DMRC and contribute to the assessment of the individual, A range of technicians and therapists will be involved in the day-to-day care and treatment, including those employed by the prosthetics contractor.
A high priority is given to enabling personnel to return to service duty in the same or a similar role if at all possible. During their continuing service career, any routine maintenance of officially-issued prosthetics is provided by the Defence Medical Services at no additional cost to the individual. The costs for this are
not recorded centrally, but provision is made in the overall Defence Medical Services budget for all such ongoing treatment and care.
If it is not possible for the individual to be retained in the armed forces, or if the individual chooses to leave, they will receive treatment, including therapy and rehabilitation, at Headley Court until they are deemed to have reached a steady state of fitness. They are then taken through a transition from military to NHS care, which will include setting in place the appropriate ongoing medical support at their local NHS regional centre. The cost of such support becomes the responsibility of the: NHS when the individual leaves the service.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department issues to members of the armed forces on their personal protection when off duty; and whether he has any plans to update this guidance. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 5 February 2007]: All armed forces personnel receive mandatory security awareness training throughout their service; this includes threat briefings and guidance on personal security measures to be taken on and off duty. The content of these briefings is subject to continuous review and updated whenever required, informed by the latest threat assessments.
Mr. Ingram: Service personnel are permitted to wear foreign or commonwealth insignia providing that they have sought the appropriate permissions from HM the Queen through the relevant service branch of the Ministry of Defence. No more than two insignia and medal ribbons may be worn for one act of gallantry.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment has been made of the usability and practicality of the uniform currently worn by British service personnel on operations; 
Following extensive trials and testing, CS 95 was introduced in 1995 and was the worlds first fully integrated combat-clothing system. CS 95 is practical to use, is based on the layering principle, and made from a more durable and faster drying material from that previously used. It has been designed to suit a range of extreme climatic conditions, including the desert, jungle and the Arctic.
As part of the MODs commitment to supply troops with modern, high quality equipment, the performance of CS 95 is continually assessed, not least via direct feedback from those who wear it. There have been no major modifications to CS 95. A number of changes have, however, been incorporated to the design including the replacement of sewn on buttons by taped buttons.
Mr. Ingram: The number of armoured vehicles in active service with the Army in 1997 is not held centrally and can only be provided at disproportionate cost. The total in active service as at 12 February 2007 is 3,780.
Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria a civil servant in his Department must fulfil (a) to be considered for a bonus on top of their regular salary and (b) to be awarded a bonus. 
A non-consolidated performance bonus which is a feature of the current pay agreement. These additional financial awards will be given on the basis of relative assessment to those whose performance contributes most to the business.
The special bonus scheme which rewards eligible MOD civilians for exceptional performance in a specific task or for the achievement of a professional qualification that benefits MOD and the individual. Recommendations are made by the immediate line manager, and are then authorised by a more senior manager.
The minor award scheme is single instance recognition scheme related to performance. The aim is to provide rewards for one-off achievement rather than recognition of sustained performance in the job, which is more appropriately rewarded through the performance pay system. Recommendations are made by the immediate line manager, and are then authorised by a more senior manager.
The criteria for bonuses is set out in the Department's annual SCS pay strategy document. Bonuses are intended to reward SCS members who
have made the highest personal in-year contribution to the Department's outputs or defence more widely.
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence engages in a range of public relations activities in order that the work of the MOD and armed forces is communicated to the general public. The information requested is not recorded as separate categories, is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Des Browne: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. All staff participation at conferences and on away days is undertaken in accordance with service and civilian regulations that require such events to be arranged with due regard for economy in terms of financial expenditure and time away from the workplace.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many divorced couples there were in the armed forces as a percentage of all married couples in the armed forces in each of the last five years. 
Derek Twigg: The following table shows Army and RAF strength by marital status at 1 April for each of the last five years. Naval service data are not available as the Naval service groups separated, divorced and widowed together.
Figures are for UK regular forces, and therefore exclude Gurkhas, full time reserve service personnel, the home service battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment, mobilised reservists. Figures are for trained and untrained personnel including officer designates.
|Army strength by marital status, as at 1 April each year 2002-06|
|Number||Percentage of total|
DASA Tri Service
|Royal Air Force Strength by marital status, as at 1 April each year 2002-06|
|Number||Percentage of total|
|n/a = Not available|
DASA Tri Service
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