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Mr. Ingram: The Army legal services branch of the Adjutant General's Corps (ALS) does not investigate cases, this is the role of the Royal Military Police (RMP). The role of ALS is threefold: the provision of advice to the chain of command on, inter alia, disciplinary matters; the provision of a prosecuting authority for the Army; and the provision of a legal advice service for servicemen and their families stationed overseas.
At this time ALS has two officers serving in Iraq providing advice to the chain of command on disciplinary matters and one officer in Afghanistan providing legal assistance to soldiers deployed in theatre. Four officers from the Army Prosecuting Authority (APA) have cases in their current caseload related to operations in Afghanistan and Iraq: one case is related to operations in Afghanistan and three are related to operations in Iraq.
Julia Goldsworthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the long-term effects of physical training on the joints of servicemen are better understood; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: UK service personnel will characteristically take part in a wide range of physical activities during the course of their service. These will include not only supervised activities related to their training, but also many unsupervised physical activities, physical training and sport undertaken at their own volition. For this reason, it is often not possible to attribute with confidence a specific chronic overuse injury to any single, supervised, physical training activity.
However, the nature and occurrence of the most common lower limb injuries (LLI) have formed the focus for many research papers, and LLI have been shown to be common to military populations throughout NATO. When all factors have been considered, the single most commonly-cited physical activity during which the majority of overuse lower limb injuries have been reported is running.
MOD undertakes research to understand the underlying factors which may explain the relatively high incidence (compared with age and gender-matched, non-military populations) of LLIs among
service personnel. Research has been conducted (both by the UK and throughout NATO) on a regular basis since the 1970s. Recent research funded by MODs Human Capability scientific research programme has included studies of the pathogenesis of stress fractures; bone health; musculoskeletal injuries; and a Physical Training shoe project.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether a decision on the deployment in the UK of US missiles for the US Missile Defense system will require the approval of Parliament. 
Des Browne: There has been no request from the United States Government to base interceptor missiles anywhere in the United Kingdom. It has not been the practice of successive administrations to seek parliamentary approval for decisions of this type. The Government would in any case seek to ensure that Parliament had adequate opportunity for debate on issues relating to missile defence.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) the United States on the UK hosting US interceptor missiles for the US missile defense system; and what the date was of the (i) first such discussion and (ii) most recent such discussion. 
Des Browne: The UK regularly discusses with the US our contribution to their missile defense system. Discussions on possible additional support are at a early stage. There has been no request from the US Government to base missile interceptors anywhere in the UK. It is not the practice of the Government to make public details of all discussions with foreign Governments as this would, or would be likely to, prejudice international relations.
Des Browne: The UK's policy on the use of Diego Garcia by the US is based on the 1966 exchange of notes (updated in 1976 and with subsequent amendments and additions). The notes allow the US to use the base as a forward operating location for aircraft and ships and require the US to seek prior approval for any operations that they wish to undertake from Diego Garcia.
All threats to UK forces in Iraq are kept under constant review. This includes the threat posed by surface to air missiles. I am withholding further
details as it would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his US counterpart on the Iranian (a) personnel, (b) explosives and (c) expertise being used in Iraq. 
Iran is an influential neighbour in the region and its behaviour continues to be a cause for concern. We and the US continually assess the nature of insurgency in Iraq including the influence of outside groups.
Support from within Iran, including the Quds Force, goes to groups who are attacking our forces and fuels the sectarian violence in Iraq. In our assessment some of the improvised explosive devices that are being used against our forces use technology that originates from Iran.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was of the (a) defence teams, (b) prosecution teams and (c) other costs related to the court martial in (i) the prosecution of the seven paratroopers for alleged crimes in Iraq in November 2005 and (ii) the prosecution of the four guardsmen for alleged crimes in Iraq in June 2006. 
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A free packet scheme was first introduced on 17 April 2003, as a temporary measure unique to Iraq, at a time when service personnel did not have access to the welfare facilities that are now available in both Iraq and Afghanistan. A decision was taken to end the scheme on 8 April 2004 when the provision of goods and services in Iraq reached the required standard. These include welfare telephones (30 minutes free calls per person per week to anywhere in the world); unlimited free letter mail and electronic letters (where available); free e-mail and internet access; newspapers, magazines, books and board games; fitness equipment; and shopping facilities provided by the Expeditionary Forces Institute. The Department
recognises that relatives will wish to send Christmas presents to those in operational theatres and a pre-Christmas free-packet scheme has therefore been a standard element of the Operational Welfare Package since 2005.
Operational welfare is a high priority for the Department and we have looked at extending the free packet scheme to become a permanent feature to all operational theatres where UK service personnel are deployed, but personnel on the ground stated a preference for improvements to welfare telephone and internet provision above free mail. On 10 October 2006, we announced improvements to the telephone and internet services, increasing the number of free telephone minutes from 20 to 30 per week.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what contracts were awarded by his Department to private military security companies for work in (a) Iraq, (b) Afghanistan and (c) other countries in each of the last five years; what was the (i) value and (ii) purpose of each such contract; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: For information on contracts let in Iraq I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Derek Conway) on 5 March 2007, Official Report, column 1657W.
For the purposes of this response I have taken the question to refer to armed security contracts overseas. One contract was awarded by the MOD in Afghanistan in financial year 2006-07, with a value of approximately £35,000. The contract was for the provision of security for UK civilian advisors to the Afghan MOD.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what research the Casino Advisory Panel (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated to estimate the likely earnings for regional casinos. 
Mr. Caborn [holding answer 15 March 2007]: None. However, the panel asked shortlisted local authorities what estimates they had made as to the likely profits of a casino in their area, insofar as it was relevant to the viability, likelihood of implementation and the likely regeneration benefits.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she made of the experience at a strategic and senior level in the regeneration of disadvantaged areas of the members of the Casino Advisory Panel before recommending their appointment. 
Mr. Caborn: The Casino Advisory Panel was appointed in accordance with Nolan principles following an open competition. The independent interview panel which was responsible for the appointments process was satisfied that five individuals they recommended for appointment would mean that the panel would have available to it the required senior, strategic level experience in the areas specified in the person specification, including in the regeneration of disadvantaged areas.
Biographical details of the five individuals selected to become the chair and members of the panel were included in the press release, issued on 30 September 2005, which announced the establishment of the Panel.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the contribution of the Casino Advisory Panel's interpretation of social impact to the overall object of the Gambling Act 2005 on reducing problem gambling. 
None. The Casino Advisory Panel was asked to identify a range of areas for the one regional, eight large and eight small casinos permitted by the
Gambling Act 2005 which would provide the best possible test of social impact. The panel's interpretation of this criterion, and its assessment of how each of the proposals before it rated against this criterion, is set out in the panel's report. The Government are satisfied that the panel has taken its terms of reference seriously and applied them in a balanced and consistent way.
All existing casinos, and any new casino that opens, will be subject to the stringent new safeguards we are introducing to ensure that the risk of problem gambling is minimised, in line with the overall objectives of the Gambling Act 2005.
Anne Milton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 5 February 2007, Official Report, column 707W, on casinos, what factors were taken into account when deciding to commission Lancaster University to advise on the methodology for the assessment of social and economic impact of the new casinos; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Caborn: Lancaster university was commissioned to advise on the methodology for the assessment of the social and economic impact of the new casinos following an open tender process. I am arranging for a copy of the invitation to tender to be placed in the House Libraries.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what revisions her Department has made to the national policy statement on casinos published in December 2004 after the reduction of the regional casino licence number to one during the passage of the Gambling Act in March 2005. 
Paragraph 24 of the national policy statement suggests that existing casinos would retain their current gaming machine entitlement of 10 machines. This entitlement was doubled to 20 from 1 October 2005, following a commitment made in Parliament by Lord McIntosh during the passage of the Gambling Bill, on 6 April 2005, House of Lords, Official Report, column 837.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions her Department held with the Gambling Commission on the implications of using a test of social impact for awarding a regional casino licence for the progress towards the objective of controlling problem gambling. 
Mr. Caborn: None. The Government published the criteria they proposed to use for selecting the areas where the new categories casinos permitted by the Gambling Act 2005 would be located in their national statement of policy published on 16 December 2004. The Gambling Commission came into being on 1 October 2005.
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