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The Solicitor-General: My hon. Friend has drawn my attention to a recent case involving two constituents which raises issues about the way our current provisions for dealing with confiscation and compensate operate.
The Fraud Review, commissioned by the Government in 2005, conducted a short survey of fraud victims from a random selection of City of London prosecutions. It was apparent from the survey that victims were predominantly concerned that fraud offences would not be repeated. Victims also hoped to be compensated for their losses, although they had no general expectation that this would happen.
The Fraud Review recommended that the Crown court should have wider powers to deal with the consequences of fraud offences. The Government have agreed that these recommendations need to be considered further, and that consideration will include wider powers to compensate victims of fraud offences. In relation to wider powers the views and experiences of victims will be one of the main considerations.
Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Solicitor-General whether he would proceed with the appointment of named counsel to advise him on whether prosecutions under the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925 should proceed if the approval of the Leader of the Opposition were not forthcoming. 
The Attorney-General has previously indicated the arrangements which his Office will put in place if he is consulted by the Crown Prosecution Service in the current honours case.
These will ensure objectivity, independence and transparency through the appointment of independent senior counsel to consider the CPS conclusions and advise. The Attorney-General has undertaken to consult Opposition spokesmen in an attempt to secure prior agreement on the choice of counsel. A decision on who to instruct will be taken then. If, following this process, a decision is taken not to prosecute, counsel's advice relating to that decision will be made public.
The Attorney-General has made it clear that he will exercise his role independently of Government, in accordance with the law and the evidence. We are clear that our first duty as Law Officers is to the law, not to party politics.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the capability of the Royal Navy to execute carrier-based air superiority missions following the decommissioning of the Sea Harrier; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The primary function of carrier-borne airpower is the direct support of ground operations, for which the Harrier GR7/GR9 aircraft are eminently suited. In an operation where there is a significant air threat to maritime forces, air defence will be provided by either land-based or coalition aircraft in addition to the sea-based air defence capability. In the future, the Joint Strike Fighter will give the joint force the ability to contribute to the full spectrum of fast jet air operations from either a carrier or a land base.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the proportion of (a) Gap Year Commission and (b) Combined Cadet Force recruits who entered the regular forces in each year since 1997. 
Derek Twigg: On the subject of Gap Year Commissions, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 5 February 2007, Official Report, column 687W, to the hon. Member for Sutton Coldfield (Mr. Mitchell).
To establish an appropriate aeromedical evacuation pathway, British armed forces casualties are medically risk-assessed on an individual basis. Most
military patients are flown to RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire or (in the case of a Hercules aircraft transfer) RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire.
Should the medical risk assessment identify an urgent clinical need, arrangements will be made to fly patients to the most appropriate airfield, either military or civilian, for quick access to the receiving hospital or facility. In most cases, the most appropriate airfield will be the East Midlands Airport to enable rapid transfer to the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHBFT), the main reception centre for Service casualties and home of the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM). However, other civilian airfields have been used occasionally to place patients in the most appropriate place as soon as possible.
In the event of large numbers of patients being repatriated, the destination airfield is defined by the Reception Arrangements for Military Patients (RAMP) agreed from a rota produced by the Department of Health (DH) and Department for Transport (DFT) based on:
Location of available NHS resources and the required treatment for the patients.
The requirement to avoid overloading facilities in any one NHS region.
Type of aircraft and the likely patient load.
Aircraft capability and expected weather conditions.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions service personnel were recorded absent without leave because NHS hospitals did not notify service authorities of the admission of service patients in each year since 1997. 
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many servicemen from the 3(rd) Battalion of the Parachute Regiment have been granted permission to serve in the private security sector while still a serving member of the armed forces in (a) the UK, (b) Dubai, (c) Iraq and (d) Afghanistan in the last five months; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: No serviceman from the 3(rd) Battalion Parachute Regiment has either sought or been granted permission to serve in the private security sector while serving in the armed forces during the last five months in any country. Queens Regulations for the Army clearly states that such employment is not permitted, This includes personnel who are on terminal leave at the end of their service.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the proportion of personnel who do not have a local connection to any local authority for the purposes of applying for social housing on leaving the armed forces. 
Derek Twigg: Information on the number of Service personnel who do not have a local connection with any local authority for the purposes of applying for social housing is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate expense.
Derek Twigg: As with all service personnel occupying service families accommodation in England and Wales, the houses occupied by Commander-in- Chief Land and the Adjutant General are owned by Annington Homes Ltd and leased back under the terms agreed under the sale of the Married Quarter Estate in November 1996.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent by his Department to help members of the armed forces living in Northern Ireland with their transition back to civilian life in each of the last three years; how much of that sum was spent on housing; and what personnel were responsible for this task over the same period, broken down by grade. 
Mr. Ingram: The cost of providing third line contracted-out career transition partnership (CTP) services to service leavers using the Regional Resettlement Centre (RRC) at Aldergrove during financial years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07 was £286,000, £397,000 and £391,000 respectively. These sums cover only the per capita payments made to the CTP contractor, Right Coutts Ltd, for full resettlement service registrations and discharges, and employment support programme registrations and discharges. It does not cover the cost of providing the facilities of RRC Aldergrove to the CTP contractor, or his staffing costs, which cannot be disaggregated from contracted price standing charges for all CTP facility manpower across the UK and Germany.
Neither do these figures include the cost of resettlement services provided in Northern Ireland by single service education and resettlement staffs: such information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Moreover, disaggregation of the proportion of time spent on resettlement provision by many who also deliver general education services to service personnel stationed in Northern Ireland would be subjective in the absence of recorded activity. The cost of resettlement training for the service leavers using RRC Aldergrove over this period, and their associated travel and subsistence costs, is not held centrally and could also only be provided at disproportionate cost. However, the maximum sum claimable by service leavers who discharged over this period in terms of individual resettlement training costs grant only would have been in the order of £900,000.
Since all CTP services are provided under contract, and not directly by the MOD, no MOD personnel were directly involved in delivering services under the CTP contract. Information on the break-down of grade structure of MOD personnel involved in delivering resettlement services at unit or local level could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces living in Northern Ireland received support to aid their transition back to civilian life in each of the last three years; and how many were assisted with housing issues. 
Mr. Ingram: A total of 2,102 members of the armed forces were discharged through the Regional Resettlement Centre at RAF Aldergrove during financial years 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07, although it is not possible to confirm that all these Service leavers were living in Northern Ireland at the time or subsequently settled in the Province. The breakdown, which does not include serving personnel still moving through the resettlement process, is as follows:
|Numbers taking up||2004-05||2005-06||2006-07||Total|
The personnel moving through resettlement include approximately a further 1,562 Royal Irish (Home Service) redundees who commenced resettlement preparation from 6 January 2006 but have yet to reach their phased exit date. The 1,680 includes 273 RI(HS) who were discharged by March 2007.
Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support is provided to service personnel living in Northern Ireland to aid their transition back to civilian life, with particular reference to housing. 
Mr. Ingram: The Ministry of Defence has set up the Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) to provide advice, guidance and support on all aspects of accommodation for those leaving the Services. In addition to this, the Service Leavers Support team provide specific support for Service personnel in Northern Ireland.
These offices provide links to local authorities and Housing Associations throughout the UK and can offer advice on all housing options available. These include applications for social housing, shared or co-ownership schemes, and advice on renting or purchasing a property.
The MOD also provides a Long Service Advance of Pay (LSAP) of up to £8,500 repaid over 10 years and prior to discharge to assist in purchasing a property. This is intended to encourage home ownership for those preparing to leave the Services.
(3) pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2007, Official Report, columns 922-3W, on Defence Schools Presentation Teams, what assessment he has made of the impact of the Defence Schools Presentation Teams on (a) recruitment and (b) the public understanding of and relations with the armed forces; 
(4) pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2007, Official Report, columns 922-3W, on Defence Schools Presentation Teams, what consultation his Department undertook with each of the services when taking the decision to end the Defence Schools Presentations Teams; 
(7) how much time he expects pupils to spend participating in the Defence Dynamic programme in order for that to be considered equivalent to attending a presentation by the Defence Schools Presentation Teams; 
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the most recent Continuous Attitudes Survey for (a) the Army, (b) the Navy, (c) the Royal Air Force and (d) service families. 
Derek Twigg: With reference to the publication of the Continuous Attitude Surveys for serving personnel, I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 13 March 2007, Official Report, column 201W. The Service families Continuous Attitude Surveys will be published shortly. I will write to the hon. Member when this has been done and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
Derek Twigg: Expenditure on the defence dental services (DDS) is presented in the following table. The total is shown as a sum of Direct Resource Expenditure (R-DELSalaries and consumable resources) followed by Capital Resource Expenditure (C-DELfixed assets) for each year. Indirect DEL (Depreciation etc.) is not included. Prior to 2005, the DDS was a Defence Agency (the Defence Dental Agency).
|(1) Please note that the figures for the financial year 2006-07 have yet to be finalised.|
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