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Mr. Dai Davies:
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the figures provided by the United Nations Assistance Mission in
Afghanistan for the number of Afghan civilians killed by (a) Taliban fighters and (b) NATO forces in Afghanistan. 
Des Browne: All casualties are a source of profound regret and ISAF and coalition forces seek at all times to avoid them. The targeting process, weapons selection, doctrine, training and rules of engagement all recognise this. The Taliban show no such concerns when they target civilians indiscriminately with suicide bombs or improvised explosive devices, nor when they deliberately kill innocent civilians such as teachers and local leaders for opposing their views.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have been held with (a) Aspire Defence and (b) Sodhexo Defence on the provision of hot water in non-commissioned officers' living accommodation at Aldershot barracks. 
Sodexho have been sub-contracted by Aspire Defence Services (a sub-contractor of Aspire Defence Limited) to provide retail, catering and cleaning services and have no responsibility for the provision of hot water to non-commissioned officers living accommodation at Aldershot barracks.
| Notes: 1 Both the Navy and the Army record AWOL statistics by the number of incidences of AWOL rather than the number of people who have gone AWOL, so there may be a number of people who are represented more than once in these figures. 2 Figures are rounded to the nearest five and are as at 6 July 2007.|
Monthly breakdowns of the figures for the Royal Air Force and the Army could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A table showing the number of Royal Navy personnel absent without leave in each month between 1997 and 2003 is as follows:
The RN criterion for personnel being reported as AWOL is that Commanding Officers must ensure missing persons/absentees are reported to Naval Provost Marshal (East) within a period of 24 hours. The Army maintains a central record through those incidents reported to the Royal Military Police which occur when an individual has been absent for seven days. Absences for less than seven days are only recorded at unit level and not held centrally. The RAF figures show the records of incidents of AWOL reported regardless of timescale.
Differences in figures for individual years compared to previous answers occur because personnel may have been wrongly reported as AWOL in the first instance, or conversely they may have subsequently been found to have been AWOL and the records rectified later.
Derek Twigg: The Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Selly Oak, Birmingham and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court are both currently conducting surveys of patient care. Both surveys indicate that the overwhelming majority of patients rate their overall care as good, very good or excellent.
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what complaints mechanism is available to military personnel who wish to register a complaint about living accommodation provided by (a) Aspire Defence and (b) Sodhexo Defence in military establishments. 
Derek Twigg: Aspire Defence Ltd. is contracted to deliver and maintain new and refurbished single living, working, technical and recreational accommodation, including the full range of support services, to Aldershot Garrison and the garrisons located around the Salisbury Plain Training Area.
If an individual wishes to register a complaint about their living accommodation, or any other aspects of Aspires service (including that provided by their subcontractors); they can either report it to the Aspire Helpdesk (in person, by telephone or facsimile) or through the chain of command. The Aspire Helpdesk operates on a 24 hour, seven days a week basis, and is available to all personnel. It is performing to an exceptionally high standard, with 97 per cent. of calls being answered within 30 seconds, compared to the contractual specification of 95 per cent.
Sodexho has no responsibilities for the provision or maintenance of accommodation at military establishments. Sodexho, as subcontractors on several PFI contracts, provide Soft Facilities Management services such as cleaning, catering, retail and leisure.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much was spent on (a) routine maintenance and (b) upgrading of armed forces (i) married quarters and (ii) single accommodation in each year since 1997. 
Derek Twigg: Records going back to 1997 are either no longer available or in a collated form. It will take time to identify what information is available and I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
From the information that is readily available, I can confirm that there have been five suspect cases of carbon monoxide reported since January 2006 in service families accommodation in England and Wales, of which two were substantiated and remedial action taken.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make an assessment of the merits of seeking to promote risk-blind life insurance schemes endorsed by his Department for low-risk armed services personnel. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 16 July 2007]: As a matter of policy MOD does not endorse or sponsor any commercial insurance scheme. The MOD, therefore, leaves the decision on whether to take out personal insurance to the individual as individual needs vary and personal insurance is a complex issue which is increasingly regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The MOD does, however, provide significant financial benefits for attributable death and injury during service. These were improved under the 2005 Armed Forces Pension scheme and Compensation scheme introduced on 6 April 2005.
There are two main life insurance schemes available to Service personnel that cover all risks including war and terrorism. Both provide cover to all personnel, regardless of whether they are low or high risk to the insurer. One of these schemes, PAX (which provides personal accident and life cover) is risk blind as the premium is set at a flat rate for all. Whilst premiums under the other scheme, Service Life insurance (SLI), take account of age and smoking history and therefore are not risk blind, they are not loaded for high risk activities and are therefore comparable to those paid by civilians.
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