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Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many road traffic accidents occurred which involved both a military tracked vehicle and a civilian vehicle, in each of the last five years. 
|Number of accidents involving a military tracked vehicle and a civilian vehicle|
The Department takes all road traffic accidents extremely seriously. To reduce the number of accidents, we deliver road safety campaigns and initiatives through organisations such as the Defence Road Safety Committee.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the provision of continuing financial support to the widows and widowers of service personnel who die (a) on and (b) off operations while in receipt of armed forces' continuity of education allowance. 
Derek Twigg: If a continuity of education allowance (CEA) claimant dies in service, the allowance will continue to be paid either to the end of the current stage of education, or for up to two full terms after the term in which the death of the service person occurred, whichever is the longer extension. This support applies to all children for whom CEA was being claimed prior to the date of death in service, and delivers the very continuity that the allowance was designed to provide.
Moreover, if a child is already studying for public examinations, CEA will continue to be paid for up to four years or to the end of the term in which the child takes the examination and then leaves school, whichever is soonest. By way of example, for a child aged 14 to 16 years who subsequently moves on to A-level studies, this would normally be up to four further years. Conversely, for a child aged 16 to 18 years, it would normally be up to two further years.
Importantly, however, the same degree of support is available in all cases where a CEA claimant dies in service, whether or not the individual was deployed on
operations. The above provisions are also available in all instances where CEA claimants are invalided from the armed forces.
Gender (women are excluded from employment in ground combat roles)
Parental consent (required for those enlisting below the age of 18)
Record of conduct in previous service with armed forces
Religion (Satanists are not accepted for service with the Army)
Reserve liability to commonwealth armed services
Weight/body mass index
The applicability of, and the standard required within, each criterion, can depend on whether an applicant is seeking to become an officer or soldier, and also which trade or arm of the Army the applicant wishes to join.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of UK military assistance to the Colombian security forces was committed to humanitarian de-mining programmes in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department provided to the Colombian security forces in each of the last five years; what assistance he plans to provide in the future; what the cost was in each year; and if he will make a statement. 
|(1) Current estimate|
This co-operation has been focused on British military education to strengthen human rights values and professional conduct within the Colombian armed forces, and explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training in order to reduce military and civilian deaths from explosive devices.
We plan to maintain co-operation at a similar level over the next year. However, the provision of future assistance continues to be dependent on our being satisfied that no one receiving UK training is engaged in illegal activities or abuses. Furthermore, we cannot currently specify the precise nature of future assistance as this will also depend on a number of factors such as the availability of UK resources, the wishes of the Colombian Government, and an analysis of training needs.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that British military assistance to Colombia is restricted to humanitarian work; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: UK MOD co-operation with Colombia is focused on three main areas: embedding human rights reforms within the Colombian armed forces in order to increase democratic accountability and minimise human rights abuses; explosive ordnance disposal training to reduce civilian and military casualties from explosive devices; and bespoke counter-narcotics assistance to stem the flow of illegal drugs to the UK and strengthen the rule of law in Colombia. All these areas of activity are aimed at reducing internal conflict in Colombia, thereby alleviating humanitarian suffering.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure British military assistance to Colombia is targeted towards counter-insurgency and counter-narcotics operations. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Our bilateral defence co-operation programme in Colombia has very specific objectives: to strengthen human rights values and professional conduct within the Colombian armed forces; to provide explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training in order to reduce military and civilian deaths from explosive devices; and to stem the flow of illegal narcotics to the UK. It comes with conditions and safeguards attached which we monitor closely within the limitations of our co-operation programme.
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: My predecessor last visited the Defence Aviation Repair Agency (DARA) rotary wing business at Fleetlands on 10 May 2007 and the Components business at Almondbank on 22 August 2003. My right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary has not visited DARA.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to ensure that any private sector owner of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency be required to maintain current levels of productivity and versatility in repairing war-damaged helicopters. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth [holding answer 15 January 2008]: I announced on 25 July 2007 that work would continue to assess whether sale of Defence Aviation Repair Agency Rotary Wing and Components businesses offers best value for Defence.
As part of this assessment, my officials are considering all operational issues, including the ability of any new private sector owner to maintain the standards currently being achieved by DARA, before a final sale decision is made. Sale will only proceed on the basis that current levels of productivity and versatility are maintained or improved.
John Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the efficiency of the Defence Aviation Repair Agency rotary wing maintenance plants at (a) Almondbank and (b) Fleetlands. 
Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2007, Official Report, column 1035W, on Defence Equipment and Support Organisation: manpower, what the reasons are for the difference between the figures relating to staff numbers provided in the answer and those on the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation's homepage. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The DE&S website uses an approximate manpower figure of 29,000 to provide a general view of the size of the organisation. The precise manpower figure varies over time and in the event of requests for more detailed manpower figures, these are provided. We recognise the need to update the approximate manpower figure on the DE&S website and plan to do this annually.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much of the Defence Export Services Organisation's budget was spent securing naval orders from other EU countries (a) in 2007-08 and (b) in each of the previous 10 years; 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) currently has 15 staff working full-time in support of UK industry efforts to win business in EU countries at an estimated cost in the current year of some £800,000.
Records are not kept, for this or previous years, of the proportion of DESO's budget relating to staff time spent on support for efforts to secure naval orders. This information is also not available with respect to other staff in DESO and elsewhere in the Ministry of Defence, who, when required, assist industry to win orders from EU countries.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) initial gate and (b) main gate decisions on category (i) A, (ii) B and (iii) C equipment projects are due to be taken over the Comprehensive Spending Review 2007 period. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The timing of MOD investment decisions depends on the maturity of the project. It is not therefore possible to provide a list of projects due to submit initial gate and main gate business cases during the comprehensive spending review 2007 period.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what category (a) A, (b) B and (c) C projects have been (i) deferred, (ii) reduced and (iii) cancelled at (A) initial gate and (B) main gate since 1997-98. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of his Departments planned expenditure on major equipment projects is committed (a) three years, (b) six years and (c) nine years ahead. 
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