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Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many beds in military wards and hospitals there were in each month since May 1997; and how many of those were occupied by military personnel injured in the line of duty in each of those months. 
Derek Twigg: The 1994 Defence Costs Study led to the closure of all the UK's military hospitals, with the exception of the Royal Hospital Haslar (which is now no longer a military unit). In May 1997, the only other remaining military hospital in the UK was the Duchess of Kent Military Hospital in Catterick (which closed as a centre for physical injuries and illnesses in 1999). The majority of patients treated at all the UK's military hospitals were civilians.
Records are not held centrally of where military patients are being treated on any one day: figures could be obtained only by contacting each individual Service unit, which would entail disproportionate cost.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answers of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1608W, on armed forces: housing, how many (a) service family accommodations and (b) single living accommodations in (i) Cyprus, (ii) Gibraltar and (iii) Germany are in each Standard for Condition category. 
Derek Twigg: Service Families Accommodation (SFA) and Single Living Accommodation (SLA) in Cyprus, Gibraltar and Germany are all assessed by Grade for Charge rather than Standard for Condition. Grade for Charge takes into account condition but also reflects other factors such as location and closeness to amenities.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 September 2007, Official Report, column 1608W, on armed forces: housing, what the criteria are for classification within each Grade for Change category. 
Derek Twigg: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) 4-tier grading (4TG) system provides a means of determining accommodation charges for differing standards of service family accommodation (SFA) and single living accommodation (SLA) across the estate. A number of criteria are assessed, relating to scaling, condition, provision of key local amenities and environmental factors. Accommodation charges for grades 1-4 are set by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body.
It is a condition of service in recognition of their inherently mobile lifestyles, frequently remote bases and terms of service that regular service personnel are provided with a satisfactory standard of accommodation either at, or within an appropriate distance from their duty unit. Where a standard is not, or cannot be met, the deficiency is awarded a number of deficiency points. Such points determine the grade for charge as described in the following table:
|Net overall points score (deficiency points)||Accommodation grade|
In a limited number of cases, where the specification of accommodation (principally arising from new build projects) is exceptionally high, positive points may be awarded to offset deficiency points for a balanced and fair grading to be determined.
|(1) Per room|
Accommodation is subject to a rolling audit programme under which it should be reviewed by a grading board at least once every four years, or on completion of significant improvement work. An occupant can challenge the grading of their accommodation at initial occupancy if they believe an error has been made.
The MOD is required to accommodate entitled personnel within 10 miles of their duty station (or 20 miles with permission of their Service Commander). Where no suitable service family accommodation (SFA) can be found, SSFA is offered within the appropriate distance from a duty station. Given the likely disruption to dependants if there were frequent moves, personnel allocated SSFA are entitled to retain it for the duration of their tour.
SSSA is granted to entitled personnel requiring single accommodation when single living accommodation (SLA) is not available at or close to an individual's place of work. Wherever possible, Defence Estates uses vacant SFA to meet demands for SLA.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 22 October 2007]: The pay bill for Service manpower for financial year 2007-08 is estimated to be some £6.7 billion. As at 1 April 2007, the net additional cost if all three Services had been at their target manning liability would have been £59 million per year, or less than one per cent. of the overall pay bill.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 22 October 2007]: It is not possible to quantify what liability would have been needed for all three Services to maintain all personnel within harmony guidelines. This is because of a number of factors:
a. There are two sets of Harmony Guidelines. Unit harmony is applied to unitssuch as a ship or an infantry battalionand governs our force structure. Individual harmony is intended to indicate the degree of turbulence experienced by individuals due to their service in the armed forces and acknowledges that people move between units.
b. Due to the particular requirements of operational commitments, at any given time some units may fail to achieve their harmony guidelines while others will not be in such demand and therefore exceed their harmony guidelines. It is therefore perfectly possible to have the required number of people overall in the Services, but face specific shortfalls in certain specialisations. The MOD actively manages such pinch points and has re-roled some units to attempt to mitigate some of the more acute harmony shortfalls.
c. The MOD focuses its effort on, wherever possible, seeking to head off harmony problems before they arise, by looking ahead into the mid-term. As a result, detailed management information on historic harmony achievement is not available. This means it is not possible to produce an extrapolation of the number of additional people required to deliver harmony guidelines.
David T.C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what guidance has been given to regimental commanding officers about the circumstances in which they may speak to their constituency hon. Members; 
Derek Twigg: Guidance for regimental commanding officers, and all other members of the Army about speaking to a Member of Parliament (MP) is contained within Queens Regulations. These require permission to be sought via the Chain of Command, appropriate MOD officials and Ministers for discussions about Army or defence-related issues. Members of the Army do, however, have the same rights as any member of the public to speak to their constituency MP at any time about a private life matter.
Mr. Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) serving and (b) retired service personnel suffering from Multiple Sclerosis have Multiple Sclerosis (i) wholly and (ii) partially attributable to their work in the armed forces. 
Derek Twigg: Multiple Sclerosis is a disorder whose cause is currently unknown. There is no published peer-reviewed scientific or medical evidence to suggest any link with particular occupations including between any factor of service in the armed forces and development of Multiple Sclerosis.
Records do however show that there are 380 former service personnel currently in receipt of a war disablement pension under the War Pension Scheme (WPS), with an accepted claim for Multiple Sclerosis. The records do not identify when these pensioners were diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis or whether it was the reason for their discharge.
The WPS provides no-fault compensation for all former service personnel disabled as a result of their Service in the armed forces before 6 April 2005. Awards are made under the WPS where, on the individual case facts and under the legislation, a casual link to service can be accepted. The WPS onus and standard of proof mean that casual links may be lawfully recognised which do not reflect contemporary medical evidence. Where a disablement has clinical onset during service and leads to medical discharge, claims are automatically considered. In that situation or where a claim is made within seven years of service termination, entitlement will be certified unless it can be shown by evidence beyond reasonable doubt that service has played no part in the cause or course of the disorder. In these circumstances claims for Multiple Sclerosis may succeed on that basis.
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