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Mr. Allen: To ask the Leader of the House if she will commission research on the effect of the new postage and stationery rules on the ability of hon. and right hon. Members to communicate effectively with their constituents. 
Helen Goodman: The monetary cap on the use of pre-paid envelopes from 1 April 2007 was balanced by the introduction of the Communications Allowance, which provides extra resources to enable Members to engage proactively with their constituents.
Martin Horwood: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2007, Official Report, column 9W, on Members: cycling, if she will take steps to enable hon. Members to register with the Government's cycle to work scheme in their capacity as an employer so that their staff members can participate in the scheme. 
Helen Goodman: As employers, Members may register for the scheme, which has costs as well as benefits for Members' staff. Any Member doing so would be responsible for administering the scheme and ensuring that the scheme rules were met.
Mr. Allen: To ask the Leader of the House when she expects the new rota for oral questions to be completed; and what provision she expects to make for (a) regional Ministers and (b) the Minister for the East Midlands to answer oral questions. 
Helen Goodman: The Leader of the House confirmed the questions rota until the summer recess on 4 July for departmental Ministers. The rota, and related matters including the issue of question times for regional Ministers, will be considered during the summer recess.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many reconstruction projects have been undertaken in Helmand province over the last five years; and where these have taken place. 
Mr. Malik: Through the national solidarity programme, the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) have approved 697 reconstruction projects in Helmand of which 250 have been completed. These have taken place in Lashkar Gah, Nahr-e-Saraj, Kajki, Musa Qala, Baghran, Now Zad, Washer, Nad Ali, Nawa-i-Barakzai, Dishu, Garmsir, Sangin and Reg. Through DFID's support to GoA's rural water and sanitation programme, 229 wells to provide clean drinking water in Helmand have been completed. These are located in Lashkar Gah, Nahr-e-Saraj, Nawa and Nad Ali. Work is also being undertaken on 50 kilometres of DFID-funded roads in Lashkar Gah.
Since April 2006, the UK has funded 150 quick impact projects through the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) based in Lashkar Gah. Of these, 81 were reconstruction projects and 52 have been completed. These have taken place in Lashkar Gah, Gereshk, Sangin, Garmsir, Musa Qala and Nahr-e-Saraj.
In addition to this, the United States Government through USAID have completed 75 projects through their alternative livelihoods programme over the last two years in Helmand. These projects have covered every district in Helmand except for Dishu.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many reconstruction projects undertaken in Helmand province over the last five years have been destroyed or delayed due to fighting. 
Mr. Malik: Over the past 30 years, infrastructure in Afghanistan, including Helmand province, has sustained substantial damage due to conflict, and neglect resulting from the collapse of governmental institutions. Since the UK assumed the lead of the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) in April 2006, the security situation has not been suitably permissive to allow either the PRT or provincial authorities to undertake a full battle damage assessment, encompassing destroyed or delayed projects, across Helmand.
The PRT works closely with the provincial authorities to undertake consultations with communities across the province to enable them to compile a provincial development plan (PDP) that will address the reconstruction and development needs of Helmand. The civilian and military elements within the PRT are working in close partnership to minimise the future risk of damage to infrastructure and non-combatants.
Mr. Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether he plans to use the Temporary International Mechanism as an acceptable method of delivering aid to the Palestinian population beyond its current extension to September. 
Mr. Malik: Any decision to extend the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) beyond September will need to be taken by the Quartet in consultation with the Palestinians. The EU is currently discussing with Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad how best to provide financial and practical assistance to the emergency government. He has welcomed the continuation of support through the TIM, but has not yet indicated how he would like it to evolve after September.
Through the national solidarity programme, the Government of Afghanistan (GoA) have approved 697 reconstruction projects in Helmand over the last two years, of which 250 have been completed. Through DFIDs support to GoAs Rural Water and Sanitation Programme, 1,000 wells to provide clean drinking water in Helmand have been surveyed, and 229 have been completed. Since April 2006, the UK has funded 150 quick impact projects through the provincial reconstruction team (PRT) based in Lashkar Gah. Of these, 81 were reconstruction projects and 52 have been completed. Work is also ongoing on 50 kilometres of DFID-funded roads in Lashkar Gah.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what responsibility his Department has for the health care of service personnel ill or injured (a) due to duties and (b) due to incidents unrelated to duties. 
Derek Twigg: The MOD is responsible for ensuring the medical care of serving members of the armed forces. The actual delivery of health care is performed by a combination of the Defence Medical Services, the NHS, coalition forces or private medical providers, depending on the geographical location, circumstances and clinical need of the patient.
If service personnel require medical treatment when on leave in the UK away from their normal duty station, they should obtain it from local NHS facilities. If inpatient treatment is required, administrative arrangements are in place for the hospital to inform the relevant service authority, in order that the appropriate military medical and welfare processes can be set in motion, which may include transfer to facilities convenient to home or unit if necessary.
Derek Twigg [holding answer 16 July 2007]: MOD already provides significant financial support for attributable death during service. This was improved under the 2005 Armed Forces Pension Scheme and the Compensation Scheme introduced on 6 April 2005.
As a matter of policy MOD leaves the decision whether to take out additional cover in the form of personal insurance to the individual as individual needs vary and personal insurance is a complex issue.
One scheme currently available to all service personnel, including those deployed abroad is PAX which provides personal accident and life cover. PAX covers war risks, but has in the past imposed restrictions (such as closing the scheme or introducing war and terrorism risks) for new members.
In addition, MOD's Service Risks Insurance Premiums Refunds scheme currently contributes towards extra life insurance premiums incurred by personnel involved in certain high-risk activities such as flying. The compensation available is 90 per cent. of the extra premium up to a total sum assured, which is increased every year in line with service pay and is currently £157,000.
In addition, the MOD launched on 8 May a new life insurance scheme, aimed exclusively at service personnel, Service Life Insurance (SLI). The scheme is available to all service personnelincluding those deployed abroad on operationsand guarantees affordable cover, including against the risks of war and terrorism throughout their service and civilian life. Premiums are comparable to those paid by civilians, with no premium loading for personnel deployed on operationsor those involved in high-risk activities.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: A manning pinch point is defined as a trade or area of expertise where there is insufficient trained strength (officers or ratings/other ranks) to perform directed tasks. This might be as a result of adherence to single-service harmony guidelines, under-manning, and/or levels of commitment that exceed the resourced manpower ceiling for the trades or areas of expertise involved.
|Pinch point trade||Percentage shortfall|
|Pinch point trade||Percentage shortfall|
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