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Derek Twigg: All applicants to the UK regular armed forces, regardless of whether they are UK or Commonwealth citizens or Republic of Ireland nationals, are given equal consideration; all have to meet the same basic entry standards and go through an identical recruit selection process.
Apart from our long standing arrangements with the Government of Nepal to recruit Gurkhas, the armed forces do not actively recruit overseas. However, in
recent years, the Army has sent selection teams to a few countries (mainly Fiji) at the specific request of the government concerned, but only when evidence suggests that there is sufficient interest among the local population to merit a visit. The selection teams screen out those who are not thought capable of meeting the full entry standards to save them the cost of an abortive trip to the UK where they undergo the recruitment process.
The recruitment documentation used is identical regardless of the nationality of the applicant. A copy of the armed forces application form, AFCO form 4, and its accompanying information and guidance booklet, AFCO form 5, will be placed in the Library of the House.
Dr. Murrison: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what entitlements non-UK citizens have on discharge from the armed forces (a) before they have completed basic training, (b) on leaving before the end of their engagement and (c) leaving at the end of their engagement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Non-UK citizens receive the same pay and allowances as their UK counterparts while they are serving in the armed forces and these cease on discharge. They also receive the same entitlements to pension benefits and resettlement grants as their UK counterparts on discharge.
There are no longer any military hospitals in the UK, with secondary medical care for service personnel now provided within the NHS. Since 2001, the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), based at the University Hospital Birmingham Foundation Trust (UHBFT), has been the main receiving unit for military casualties evacuated from an operational theatre. In the Birmingham area, military patients can benefit from the concentration of five specialist hospitals (including Selly Oak hospital) to receive a very high standard of care. Indeed, Selly Oak is at the leading edge in the medical care of the most common types of injuries (e.g. polytrauma) our casualties sustain.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many units of (a) married and (b) single accommodation are provided at each barracks in (i) the United Kingdom and (ii) Germany; and what percentage
of that accommodation is (A) in use, (B) subject to repair and refurbishment and (C) empty. 
Derek Twigg: The requested information is not held centrally and it will take time to determine what can be provided without incurring disproportionate cost. I will therefore write to my hon. Friend and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.
I undertook to write to you in answer to your parliamentary question on 28 November 2007, Official Report, column 449W about the number of units of married and single accommodation provided at each barracks in the United Kingdom and Germany; and what percentage of that accommodation is in use, subject to repair and refurbishment and empty.
I regret that as stated the information regarding Single Living Accommodation is not held centrally. To collate the detail necessary would necessitate direct contact with every individual unit of all three Services and would incur disproportionate costs.
Information on Service Families Accommodation (SFA in the UK), together with numbers of voids at each location, is set out in Annex A. Currently some 81 per cent. of UK SFA properties are occupied with 19 per cent void (not in use). Properties are void for various reasons, including:
to allow for modernisation work, disposal or demolition to be carried out,
when the SFA property is under offer to applicants,
to allow for routine movements of personnel,
the property is held pending operational deployments or unit moves,
to allow for release to AHL for sale.
It is not possible to identify the exact number of void properties undergoing repair as in most cases where property is void for a short period of time between occupants some form of repair is undertaken.
For SLA and SFA in Germany, the situation is as follows:
|In use||Percentage in use||Subject to refurbishment|
|In use||Percentage in use||Subject to refurbishment|
Derek Twigg: 12,240 (17 per cent.) of the some 71,000 service family accommodation held worldwide are void. Void stock includes accommodation being held for planned moves of service units, or awaiting planned upgrades, sale or release, modernisation or demolition.
Derek Twigg: Of the 165,000 single living accommodation (SLA) bed-spaces and the 71,000 service family accommodation (SFA) worldwide, the number of voids in the UK and overseas is broken down as follows:
|Accommodation type||Single living accommodation||Service family accommodation|
Figures dated 22 January 2008
Work is ongoing to further reduce the numbers of voids. Since March 2007, the total number of void SLA bed-spaces has reduced from 46,325 to 34,293 and in the same period, void SFA has reduced from 13,336 to 12,240 properties.
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) average and (b) highest percentage of annual leave lost by personnel in the (i) Army, (ii) Navy, (iii) RAF and (iv) all services has been in the last 12 months. 
Derek Twigg: The information requested is not held centrally. However, the Defence Analytical Services Agency (DASA) undertake an annual Survey of Leave which captures the number of lost leave days for each respondent. Overall estimates for the Army and RAF for the 2006-07 leave year are shown in the following table.
It is not possible to provide reliable 2006-07 estimates for the Navy (including Royal Marines) due to low response rates, caused by their migration to the new joint personnel administration system during the 2006-07 leave year.
|Table of estimated average percentage and average number of annual leave days not taken and not carried forward in 2006-07|
|Service||Average percentage of annual leave lost||Average number of annual leave days lost|
Since the survey of leave is a sample survey it cannot be used to identify the highest value in the population as a whole. The survey excludes personnel of Major General rank and above (or equivalents).
Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the peace establishment was of the (a) Royal Dragoon Guards, (b) 1(st) Battalion Scots Guards, (c) Royal Scots Borderers, 1(st) Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, (d) 1(st) Battalion The Duke of Lancasters Regiment, (e) 1(st) Battalion The Mercian Regiment, (f) D Battery, 3(rd) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery and (g) K Battery, 5(th) Regiment Royal Artillery prior to deployment to Iraq; what the deployable strength of each battalion is; and how many of all ranks are physically unfit to deploy. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is shown in the following table. The relevant units are currently deployed and as the disclosure of exact numbers would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces, numbers have been rounded to the nearest 100 or where less than 100 to the nearest 10, as appropriate.
|Unit||Peace establishment prior to deployment||Strength on deployment||Personnel physically unfit to deploy|
3(rd) Regiment Royal Horse Artillery are providing an enduring commitment to operations in Iraq at sub unit level. K Battery 5(th) Regiment Royal Artillery is also providing a bespoke force element to meet current operational requirements. The combined deployment figure for both units is less than 100 personnel. The peace establishment for both forces prior to deployment is around 100 personnel each. However, I am withholding the actual figures as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of our armed forces.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many requests have been made for medical records of (a) serving and (b) veteran service personnel by (i) GPs, (ii) hospital consultants and (iii) individual service personnel and veterans, in each of the last five years; how many of those records were unable to be retrieved; and if he will make a statement. 
In the Royal Navy and the Army, medical records of serving personnel are mostly held at individual unit level. Details of the number of requests could be obtained only by contacting each of them individually, which could be done only at disproportionate cost. The RAF primary health care directorate holds its
records centrally, although an annual breakdown of requests is not available without a manual analysis of the records.
The medical records for those who have left the armed forces may be held either by the MOD central health records library (CHRL) or by the three single services. The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) also holds some records, but in the majority of cases these will be on loan from the other organisations. When the SPVA receives requests for copies of records, it will in most cases obtain them from CHRL or the single services, thus itself accounting for a significant number of the requests recorded.
Each organisation collates its figures in the way that best meets its own business needs. Only the Army has been able to break down the number of requests by the type of requester; in other organisations, this detail is not recorded centrally. Also, not all of them record the number of requests made where records are not held. Furthermore, these numbers will inevitably include instances of double-counting. For example, when a request for records has been made of more than one organisation, (CHRL, SPVA and the single services) this will usually result in a record not held tally in one of them.
|Number of requests for medical records of veterans||Number of requests where records not held|
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