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3 July 2007 : Column 952W—continued

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many veterans are in receipt of a war disablement pension, broken down by percentage assessment of disability. [146073]

Derek Twigg: The number of veterans in receipt of a war disablement pension, broken down by percentage assessment of disability is reported quarterly and presented in Table 1.6 of the War Pensions Quarterly Statistics, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House. The publication is also available on the Defence Analytical Services Agency website:

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: Procurement

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of future rapid effect system vehicles will be required to be manufactured in the UK. [144762]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 25 June 2007]: The FRES programme is currently in its assessment phase. In common with all equipment programmes, the decision on where manufacture will take place will be confirmed when the main investment decision has been taken. It is envisaged that the majority of the vehicles will be manufactured in the UK but existing production lines located overseas may be used to manufacture initial batches of FRES vehicles in order to promote early delivery. We are clear, however, that the intellectual property rights, design authority, and systems architecture of the final FRES vehicle must reside in the UK.

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role he intends (a) the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation (OCCAR) and (b) the EU Defence Agency to play in the future rapid effect system project. [144763]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 25 June 2007]: For the Utility variant, on current plans, there is no scope to collaborate at the overall programme level but there is scope for co-operation at the sub-system level. The Reconnaissance, Fires and Support vehicle families are also likely to offer further opportunities for co-operative working.

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Army Board: Housing

Mr. Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the running costs were of the housing provided by his Department for members of the Army Board in each year since 1997. [130306]

Derek Twigg: The Army Board members who live in Official Service Residences are the Chief of the General Staff (COS), Commander-in-Chief Land (C-in-C Land),
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Adjutant General (AG) and the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland (GOC NI). The Assistant Chief of the General Staff (ACGS) occupies accommodation rented from a private landlord at a cost of £1,403.50 per month, to which ACGS makes a contribution of approximately £100 per month.

Information has not been retained for years prior to 1999-2000, or in GOC Northern Ireland’s case prior to 2001-02. Available figures are shown in the following table.

1999-2000 2000-01 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06







































The running cost for the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland for 2005-06 is £1,806 more than that stated in my answer of 20 March 2007, Official Report, column 749-750W. This answer was corrected in my answer of 24 May 2007, Official Report, column 1379W. Neither answer included furniture within the maintenance cost, which is included above.

Departments: Lobbying

Mr. Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many lobbying companies his Department engaged on (a) a paid and (b) an unpaid basis in each of the last five years; and for what purpose. [141317]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Over the last five years, the Department engaged lobbying companies as follows:

for the provision of advice on relations with Congress to the Defence Equipment organisation in the British embassy in Washington, DC, USA on the promotion of British interests in the defence equipment and defence industrial fields in relation to Congress.

Departments: Public Participation

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many public consultations his Department undertook in the last 12 months; and what the cost was of each consultation. [145272]

Derek Twigg: Information on the number and cost of public consultations conducted by MOD is not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departments: Surveys

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's Senior Civil Service Survey 2006. [143117]

Derek Twigg: Yes. I have today arranged for the document to be placed in the Library of the House.

Ex-servicemen: Health

Bill Etherington: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what arrangements are to be put in place to monitor the health status, including DNA and gene damage, of serving and former servicemen and servicewomen potentially exposed to ionizing and depleted uranium; and if he will make a statement. [146598]

Derek Twigg: In March 2003, the MOD established a research programme into the physical and psychological health of personnel deployed (regulars, reservists and MOD civilians) on Operation Telic (Op Telic) as part of its duty of care to serving personnel and in response to lessons learned from the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict. A team led by Professor Simon Wessely at King’s Centre for Military Health Research has been carrying out the bulk of this research. The first findings were published in the Lancet last year and there is so far no sign of the repeat of Gulf veterans’ illnesses in Service personnel coming back from Iraq. The other main finding of a slightly increased level of common mental health problems in reserve personnel who served in Iraq is being addressed through a package of additional healthcare. We have agreed a three year extension to our original Op Telic research project and Service personnel deployed to Afghanistan (Operation Herrick) will now specifically be covered by it.

Our biological monitoring policy is that all military personnel and civilians on recent operations, such as Iraq (Op Telic), and any future operations involving use of depleted uranium (DU) are offered a test for total uranium in the urine. A test for uranium isotopes, which determines whether the uranium is depleted, is offered if the initial test for the total uranium gives
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anomalous results. Around 390 personnel have taken this test. A separate screening programme overseen by the Depleted Uranium Oversight Board (DUOB) tested a total of 496 veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf Conflict and Balkans operations. I announced the publication of the final report of the DUOB on 26 March 2007, Official Report, column 64WS.

Future Rapid Effect System

Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the aim of keeping the intellectual property rights and the design authority of the Future Rapid Effect System within the UK is compatible with the boxer vehicle design proposed by Artec and managed by OCCAR. [146081]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 28 June 2007]: Yes. UK residence of intellectual property rights (IPR) and design authority status is a key objective of the defence industrial strategy and meeting this objective was a precondition for entry into the FRES utility vehicle design competition.

Galileo Project

Mr. Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether a representative of his Department has attended meetings on the Galileo project in the last six months; and if he will make a statement. [146205]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Department for Transport (DFT) is the lead Government Department for Galileo. MOD policy officials, along with officials from other Government Departments, provide DFT advice on wider issues.

In addition, the British National Space Centre (BNSC) has contracted satellite navigation experts from the Defence Scientific and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), an MOD executive agency, to provide technical support to the UK's involvement in the EU's Galileo civil satellite navigation programme.

They have regularly attended meetings on Galileo since the earliest days of the programme.

Gurkhas: Pensions

Derek Wyatt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to improve the pensions of Gurkhas who have served more than 21 years with the British army. [146601]

Derek Twigg [holding answer 29 June 2007]: The changes necessary to implement the new terms and conditions for Gurkhas that I announced earlier this year have now started. In the particular case of pensions, we propose to offer serving and retired Gurkhas who served on or after 1 July 1997, when the Brigade became home based in the UK, the opportunity to transfer to one of two armed forces pension schemes, with a planned transfer date of 1 October 2007. This will allow Gurkhas to choose the pension scheme which best meets their personal circumstances.

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Departments: European Union

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department are (a) involved in assisting European Council negotiations, (b) involved in assisting and advising the European Commission, (c) seconded to the European Commission, (d) involved in monitoring EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives, (e) involved in enforcing compliance with EU decisions, communications, regulations and directives and (f) involved in other work related to the European Council, Commission or Court of Justice. [146086]

Jane Kennedy: Officials throughout the Treasury are involved in a full range of EU business. Those working specifically on EU business in the International and Finance Directorate in the Treasury total 37. A breakdown of the figures as requested would incur disproportionate cost.


Mr. Gray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 14 June 2007, Official Report, column 1284W, on informers, when Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) commenced taking account of Association of Chief Police Officers' guidelines in calculating rewards to informers; and what the statutory basis is for HMRC taking such guidelines into account. [144256]

Dawn Primarolo: Since the merger of the former Inland Revenue and HM Customs and Excise to form HM Revenue and Customs on 18 April 2005 all reward payments made by HMRC have followed the relevant ACPO principals.

ACPO guidance does not have a statutory basis in law, but is recognised as “best practice” within the Law Enforcement environment.

Inheritance Tax: Gifts and Endowments

John Hemming: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will increase the limit of the annual exemption from inheritance tax for gifts; and if he will make a statement. [146593]

Jane Kennedy: Under the current inheritance tax rules, most gifts made more than seven years before death are not regarded as within the chargeable estate for tax purposes. Gifts made within this period are brought within the taxable estate; however they will only be subject to IHT where the taxable estate exceeds the nil-rate band of £300,000. Where gifts made within this period may be liable to IHT, there is an exemption of £3,000 each year; there are also various other gifts reliefs available. The Government keep all taxes under review.

National Insurance Fund

Mr. Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the surplus or deficit on the National Insurance Fund was in each year since 1979. [146249]

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Jane Kennedy: The information requested is provided in the National Insurance Fund Accounts that are published annually. Copies of the accounts are available in the Library of the House.

Public Expenditure: Northamptonshire

Mr. Bone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what public expenditure per head in real terms was for (a) Northamptonshire, (b) Wellingborough constituency, (c) Kettering constituency and (d) Corby constituency in each year from 2001-02 to 2006-07. [147342]

Andy Burnham: Information on total identifiable expenditure per capita for each region of England is set out in the HM Treasury publication, ‘Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses (PESA) 2007’, May 2007. This provides outturn data from 2001-02 to 2005-06 and planned outturn for 2006-07. The PESA publication is available at:

The Government do not currently disaggregate spending data below regional level.

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