Mr. Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect on stability in the region of the newly formed Palestinian Government. 
Dr. Howells: We have made no assessment of the effect the new Palestinian Government have had on stability in the region. We, along with regional partners, are concerned about the current situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke to Palestinian President Abbas, US Secretary of State Rice and the Egyptian, Omani and Qatari Foreign Ministers ahead of the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting on 15 June. We support President Abbas and the emergency Government.
Arab League Foreign Ministers on 15 June agreed to support President Abbas and condemned all parties for
the violence. The Arab League agreed to establish a Fact-Finding Committee (Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Qatar) to engage with the parties.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on what date the mission in Helmand province was originally expected to end; and what the most recent estimate is of what that date will be. 
Des Browne: The current deployment of UK troops in the South of Afghanistan as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force is planned until 2009, although we have always made it clear that our commitment to Afghanistan is a long-term one. The size and duration of the UK presence in Helmand will depend on a number of factors including the ability of Afghan security forces to take greater responsibility for the security of their own country.
Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which organisations had drawing rights on the special account held at the Bank of England in relation to the Al Yamamah contract; and what information his Department had on the identity of those with drawing rights on accounts to which money was sent from that special account. 
Paul Holmes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what advice is given to UK armed forces personnel serving in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq and (c) other theatres overseas on the buying and export from the country of origin of ancient coins and antiquities and other cultural property; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Ingram: Guidance on this issue is provided in both a Defence Council Instruction (DCI) and a Defence Operational Instruction (DOI) on the retention of captured enemy equipment as operational memorabilia (OM).
Units are to ensure that neither items of private property nor those that could be seen as having historical, cultural or religious significance are removed.
Items of private property or items that could be seen as having historic, cultural or religious significance are not to be removed.
In addition there are provisions within the agreements between UK and the host nation in which our troops are serving that state that personnel will respect the laws, regulations, customs and traditions of the host country insofar as this is compatible with the entrusted task and mandate.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) rank, (b) age, (c) sex, (d) regiment and (e) last theatre of operation is of those service personnel classed as being absent without leave and who have not yet been unaccounted for. 
Mr. Ingram: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, as at 25 June 2007, the numbers of personnel who have gone absent without leave from the services since 1 January 2003 and remain so are:
Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of accommodation provided by his Department to non-ministerial members of the Army Board is considered to be of Standard 1 condition. 
Derek Twigg: Of the five non-ministerial members of the Army Board who are provided with accommodation, two (40 per cent.) occupy Standard 1 Condition properties. They are the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland and the Assistant Chief of the General Staff. The property occupied by the Chief of the General Staff is not owned or maintained by the MOD and therefore is not classified using the MOD system.
Mr. Jenkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK armed services personnel (a) were barracked in the UK and (b) had a private residence that was not provided by the armed forces in each of the last five years. 
Derek Twigg: Figures for the period 2003 to 2006 are set out as follows. The term barracked in the UK has been taken to include all Service Family Accommodation (SFA), Single Living Accommodation (SLA), Substitute Service Families Accommodation (SSFA) and Substitute Service Single Accommodation (SSSA). The information requested is currently captured as at 1 April each year, but this only began in 2003 for SFA and 2004 for SLA. The allocation and occupancy of SFA is managed on a single information system, but in the case of SLA differences in reporting, for example over whether SLA is formally allocated to individuals in dormitories, mean that the figures should be regarded as approximate. Information on SLA occupied by those undergoing Phase 1 and 2 training (basic recruit/trade training) is not available for 2004 and 2005, but is included in the 2006 figures. Comparable figures for 2007 are not yet available.
|1 April each year:
|n/a = Not available
Information on whether Service personnel own a private residence is not held by the Ministry of Defence. However, estimates derived from surveys indicate that the level of home ownership is approximately 73 per cent. for Officers and 45 per cent. for Other Ranks.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department paid to Common Purpose in each of the last five years; for what purpose; and what the outcome of the expenditure was. 
These payments covered the cost of participation by MOD staff in Common Purpose UKs training and education programmes. Programmes of this nature help to develop leadership skills, to gain understanding about broader aspects of government and to share experience with and learn from participants from both the private and public sectors.
David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people aged (a) over 55 years of age and (b) over 60 years of age have been recruited by his Department in each of the last three years; and what percentage in each case this is of the number of new recruits in each year. 
|Civilian inflow to the Ministry of Defence by financial year
|Percentage of total inflow
|Percentage of total inflow
|Percentage of total inflow
1. This includes industrial and non industrial staff employed by the Ministry of Defence and trading funds, but excludes Royal Fleet Auxiliaries and locally engaged staff.
2. Percentages are calculated on unrounded figures and exclude staff of unknown age.
3. Staff grouped 55+ are a subset of 60+.
4. Due to the rounding methods used, totals may not always equal the sum of the parts. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ordinary written questions tabled to his Department by hon. Members have been waiting for a substantive reply for more than (a) one month and (b) two months; and what the subjects are of those questions. 
Derek Twigg: As at 25 June, five ordinary written questions had been waiting for a reply for between one and two months and eight for more than two months. The questions are various and include subjects such as insurgency in Iraq, contaminated land, service personnel issues, and costs and expense claims of Army Board members.
Des Browne: We keep the capability of insurgents in Iraq under constant review, including their capability to launch attacks on naval and maritime targets. This is a credible threat and our current force structure reflects that assessment.