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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There is no international definition of a cluster munition, nor of the number of sub-munitions a weapon must carry in order to be classed as a cluster munition. An element of the UKs own understanding is that a weapon should carry more than 10 sub-munitions in order to satisfy the definition of a cluster munition.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the implications of likely future numbers in UK Merchant Navy officers for future military operations. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There has been no specific research commissioned or evaluated recently by the Department on the implications of the likely future numbers of UK Merchant Navy officers on future military operations.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 16 July 2007, Official Report, column 13W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many staff are employed by the Defence Export Service Organisation (DESO); what estimate he has made of the volume of UK defence exports which are principally attributable to the work of DESO since 1995; and if he will make a statement on the future of DESO. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth
[holding answer 23 July 2007]: For the number of staff employed in the Defence Exports Services Organisation (DESO), I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor
on 1 March 2007, Official Report, column 1542W, to the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Steen). On the future of DESO, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 16 July 2007, Official Report, column 13W, to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Dr. Cable).
The annual value of total export orders won in recent years is given in UK Defence Statistics, published annually. These reflect a number of factors, including the contribution made by support from DESO.
Mr. Harper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) requirement and (b) percentage of required personnel in post is in the medical corps of the (i) Army, (ii) Royal Navy and (iii) Royal Air Force. 
Derek Twigg: The information for uniformed medical and dental professional (i.e. a total of doctor, dentist, nurse and allied health professional cadres) is set out in the following table. The numbers are as at 1 April 2007.
(a) Payment of Golden Hellos to direct entrants into specialist areas where there is greatest shortfall.
(b) Payment of Financial Retention Initiatives to encourage individuals in operational pinch point specialities to return to and remain in speciality.
(c) Managing medical deployments on a tri-Service basis allowing the workload to be shared more evenly and maximising capabilities.
(d) Prioritising resources to support operations.
(e) Establishing alternative means of meeting operational commitments (e.g. use of Reserves and civilian agency contractors and working closely with allies on operations.
(f) Continued development of military career pathways. For example, we are implementing the Defence Nursing Strategy to enhance the career pathway for military nurses. As part of this initiative, Defence Specialist Nursing Advisors have been appointed for each specialism, to plan and manage recruitment and retention in their own specialism.
(g) Encouraging personnel to train and remain in operational pinch point specialities.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what land he expects to be disposed of by his Department between 2007 to 2011; and whether he plans to require that land to be used for social housing. 
Derek Twigg: This Department keeps its estate under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements, with a view to disposing of surplus assets as quickly as possible. A list of the sites in the present programme and those earmarked for future disposal is available in the Library of the House of Commons.
The MOD welcomes the Governments latest housing initiative and will assist with the (draft) Housing Green Paper by continuing to work closely with English Partnerships, the Regional Development Agencies, local authorities and other key stakeholders when considering its disposal strategy. This will often include an assessment of development and regeneration opportunities, including the need for social housing, through the preparation of a planning briefer outline planning application.
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence encourages the use of more sustainable travel as part its work on sustainable development. The Department offers civilian staff interest free loans to purchase bicycles and public transport season tickets for commuting to and from their place of work.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the number of blue on blue incidents in which UK forces have been hit by depleted uranium munitions; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: The Royal British Legion (RBL), Gulf War Group, recently published a policy paper entitled Gulf War: a legacy of suspicion on concerns with respect to 1990-91 Gulf veterans illnesses. I was sent a copy of this following my attendance at their conference to consider the points raised by the report. I will provide them with a formal response, explaining our position on the policy priorities set out in the document.
Derek Twigg: Gulf veterans receive compensation proportionate to the seriousness of their disablement in the form of war pensions and attributable armed forces pensions, in the same way as other ex-servicemen or women who suffer illness or injury as a result of their service. The Ministry of Defence has no plans to make an ex gratia payment to Gulf War Veterans.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research the UK has undertaken to assess the humanitarian impact of the use of cluster munitions containing M85 submunitions in (a) Iraq and (b) Lebanon. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 23 July 2007]: The UK does not carry out post-conflict humanitarian impact assessments after munitions, including cluster munitions, have been used; there is no requirement to do so under International Humanitarian Law. The priority following operations is to clear unexploded ordnance in order to provide freedom of movement for our forces and conduct the highest priority clearance operations that threaten civilian lives.
We recognise that Explosive Remnants of War, caused by unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions, are a humanitarian problem. That is why the UK has played an active role at the UN in creating a new legally binding protocol containing a number of new legally binding provisions that will provide significant humanitarian benefit to those civilians in areas affected by Explosive Remnants of War. We are urging all states to sign and ratify this protocol as soon as possible. We are in the process of ratifying this and the MOD is in the process of implementing its provisions. The universal implementation of this will drive a significant reduction in the post-conflict effects of Explosive Remnants of War.
We are still waiting for the outcome of the Israeli inquiry into their use of cluster munitions in Lebanon. To date the UK has contributed £2.7 million towards the clearance of unexploded munitions, including cluster munitions, in Lebanon. This is specifically intended to minimise the humanitarian impact of unexploded submunitions and other Explosive Remnants of War.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 17 July 2007]: We announced on 30 March the purchase of six new Merlin helicopters, which will be available within a year, and the conversion of existing Chinook Mk 3 helicopters currently estimated to be available in two years. We keep our equipment requirements under constant review to ensure the appropriate number of platforms is available for operational deployment. In addition, work under the Future Rotorcraft Capability programme will ensure we are able to meet our battlefield support helicopter capabilities in the long-term.
Dr. Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether there has been (a) a freeze (b) a slowdown in the rate of promotion of (i) officers and (ii) other ranks in the Royal Navy; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: There has not been a freeze in the rate of promotion numbers in the naval service. There is a temporary reduction in promotion, primarily officers for the period 2007-10 recovering to present levels by 2012. There has been a slight temporary reduction in overall promotion numbers for warrant officers but other senior rate promotions currently remain steady.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many farmers received (a) up to £50,000, (b) £50,001 to £100,000, (c) £100,001 to £150,000, (d) £150,001 to £200,000, (e) £200,001 to £250,000, (f) £250,001 to £300,000, (g) £300,001 to £350,000, (h) £350,001 to £400,000, (i) £400,001 to £450,000 and (j) £450,001 to £500,000 in single payment scheme payments for 2006. 
The assessment of claims paid has been updated from my earlier response given to the hon. Gentleman on 10 July 2007, Official Report, column 1365W, and reflects additional payments made in the intervening period, moving certain claimants into the >£50,000 banding.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential effect of funding withheld by the EU in relation to the Single Farm Payment scheme on resources available for flood defences; and if he will make a statement. 
Jonathan Shaw: There has been no effect on resources dedicated to flood defences as a result of EU penalties (disallowance) made by the EU in relation to the Single Farm Payment scheme as these payments have been met from a separate ring-fenced budget. This arrangement will continue for future years.
The Government are committed to effective management of flood risk. Over £4 billion has been invested across England on flood and coastal erosion risk management since 1996-97. Around £600 million is to be spent by DEFRA and local authorities this year compared to £307 million in 1996-97 and this is set to increase to £800 million in 2010-11.
Mr. Syms: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many outstanding single farm payments there are from (a) 2005 and (b) 2006 to be made to farmers in the South West. 
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