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Like all central Government Departments, the Ministry of Defence is focusing on meeting the targets on sustainable operations on the Government Estate (SOGE), including reducing
carbon emissions; improving energy efficiency; and specifying minimum standards for energy efficient computers and monitors.
Since June 2006 in MOD main building users have been instructed to shut down their workstations at the end of work, rather than logging off, and a facility has been added to workstations which allows them to be powered up remotely, out-of-hours, for software upgrades, if required. These procedures are being extended across all MOD sites as hardware and software improvements are implemented.
Mr. Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 14th May 2007, Official Report, column 514W, on Departments: ICT, whether the identified overseas design solution for the Defence Information Infrastructure (Future) system has been (a) accredited and (b) implemented overseas; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: The security requirements for DII(F) have been defined and DII(F) complies with them. Accreditation of DII(F) at overseas locations will be confirmed on a site-by-site basis. The roll-out of the DII(F) programme is progressing satisfactorily, and the provision to overseas locations is part of that programme.
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. While the MOD, its agencies and the services employ full-time and part-time communications staff, and on occasion engage external PR consultancies to assist them, the Department does not centrally record overall expenditure on public relations. This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Robert Key: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the financial and other consequences of the likely effect of the Rating (Empty Properties) Bill on his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: Summaries of the Departments spend on external assistance are available in the Library of the House. Recruitment consultancy, an element of external assistance, is broken out separately in these reports for the years 2000-01 to 2005-06.
Although the Department collected external assistance expenditure figures before 2000, recruitment consultancy was not reported as a separate category. The requested information for the years 1997-98 to 1999-2000 is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice his Department gives to members of HM Armed Forces who resign on their right to apply for local authority housing accommodation. 
Derek Twigg: All regular service leavers, not just those who resign, are provided with information on sources of housing help in their leaving information packs which are usually issued nine months before discharge. A Life Skills Guide which is available on the internet also advises how to apply for local authority housing, and provides details of useful websites and agencies.
Early service leavers attend a mandatory briefing on resettlement issues and an interview in which their personal resettlement plan is developed and their accommodation arrangements reviewed. The resettlement officer makes an assessment of the leaver's vulnerability to social exclusion and, if appropriate, offers to arrange extra specialist help or advice.
The Joint Services Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) provides a dedicated MOD focal point for housing
information and advice for those about to return to civilian life. The JSHAO gives regular nationwide briefings advising personnel of their housing options. Each service also has resettlement specialist officers who are available to give advice to service personnel at any time during their careers.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 May 2007, Official Report, column 1853W, on ex-servicemen: health services, how many cases the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency is currently monitoring. 
Derek Twigg: Regular reminders about priority treatment for war pensioners are circulated by the health services to senior NHS managers who are tasked to ensure that relevant clinical staff are aware. The provision is subject to the NHS complaints procedure but there is no formal system of audit. From April 2007, the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) will keep a record of cases where war pensioners raise priority treatment issues with MOD or SPVA. No cases are currently being monitored.
Mr. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on Gulf war syndrome and its effects on Gulf war veterans; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: We are open to undertaking new research where, in the opinion of the independent experts at the Medical Research Council (MRC), it is justified. A research proposal to develop and prove rehabilitative therapies designed to improve the long-term health of Gulf veterans with persistent symptoms is with the MRC for initial assessment. In addition, we are working with the MRC on the possibility of research into paraoxanasethe enzyme involved in metabolising organophosphates. If work in either area produces a viable proposal which the MRC considers would have merit then we will fund this.
There are many research studies into the illnesses affecting veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict; most of these are published in scientific or medical journals to allow peer-review and they are usually available on the world wide web. We monitor research undertaken in the UK and by other countries, in particular the United States where we have a British liaison officer based permanently in Washington DC; he is tasked both with ensuring that the UK has full visibility of US research into Gulf veterans illnesses and with providing a channel for communicating our own work to interested US parties.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has in respect of the provision of (a) pension entitlements and (b) other benefits entitlements to Gurkha soldiers who retired from active service in the UK armed forces more than 10 years ago. 
Derek Twigg: It is not planned to review the position of those ex-Gurkha service pensioners who retired before 1 July 1997. They were discharged with an expectation of retirement in Nepal and will continue to receive benefits under the Gurkha pension scheme. These are uplifted annually for inflation in Nepal and are periodically reviewed in line with the Indian Pay Commission.
Des Browne: As this House is aware, we have been reviewing our overall bilateral policy towards Iran in the light of the recent detention of naval personnel and given the continued concerns that the international community has over the behaviour of the Iranian regime. We continue to stand by the principles which underpin our policy: we are committed to engagement, through diplomacy and dialogue, to encourage Iran to play a constructive role on the international stage; at the same time, we will work with international partners to maintain a strong line against unacceptable Iranian behaviour, including its nuclear ambitions and its support for terrorism and violence in the region.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Main Estimates 2007-08 (HC 438), if he will place in the Library a copy of the undertakings given to the Iraqi Ministry of Transport in relation to the provision of his Department's support services for the opening of Basra airport. 
Mr. Ingram [holding answer 16 May 2007]: The UK contingent of the Multinational Force in Iraq signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Iraqi Ministry of Transport in December 2006, covering the services to be provided by each party towards the ongoing commercial operation of Basra international airport.
We will make public the text of this MOU subject to obtaining the consent of the Iraqi Government as the co-signatory. I will write to the hon. Member to inform him of their decision and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice Ministers, military personnel and
civil servants in his Department gave to their counterparts in the United States prior to the disbandment of the Iraqi army and the de-Ba'athification programme in May 2003. 
Mr. Moore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his answer of 8 May 2007, Official Report, columns 63-64W, on Iraq: peacekeeping operations, if he will break down the number of attacks in each province by month. 
|Province||Month||Attacks on MNF|
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