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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The cost of production and publication of the inquiry into National Recognition of the Armed Forces Study is estimated to be some £176,000 of which approximately £144,000 was for the salaries of the two civil servants and one military officer supporting my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies)
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what studies his Department has (a) carried out and (b) commissioned into potential sites for a prototype for the new generation nuclear propulsion plant. 
Mr. Dai Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the publications (a) JSP 518, on regulation of the naval nuclear provision programme and (b) JSP 471, on defence nuclear accident response. 
Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he intends to publish his Department's plan for the release of the military elements of electromagnetic spectrum to the market; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 April 2008, Official Report, column 484W, on radioactive materials: transport, what plans there are to use existing special nuclear materials load carriers to transport special nuclear materials before replacement carriers are commissioned; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Under current plans, the existing special nuclear materials load carriers will continue to be employed in their current role to transport special nuclear materials in support of the UK deterrent programme, until 2010 when they will be replaced by the Truck Cargo Heavy Duty, Mk 3.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to update the guidance letter issued to South Africans in the British Army dated 20 February 2008 on South African legislation on mercenaries and membership of other nations armed forces; when guidance on this subject was issued to South African personnel in (a) the Royal Navy and (b) the RAF; whether South African personnel will be able to continue to serve in the British armed forces on a conditional or qualified basis on terms set out by the
South African government when the legislation comes into force; what meetings have been held between (i) officials and (ii) Ministers and the South African government to discuss the issue; and whether South African personnel in the armed forces will be granted UK citizenship if barred from membership of the UK armed forces by the legislation. 
Mr. Bob Ainsworth: Letters are sent out to serving South African personnel at regular intervals updating them on the latest situation with regards to the South African legislation on mercenaries and membership of other nations armed forces. The last letters to Royal Naval personnel were sent out on 31 January 2008 and letters to RAF personnel were sent on 15 February 2008. Further updates will be sent in due course if and when there are further developments.
We are urgently investigating the potential consequences for South African personnel currently serving in the UK armed forces, so that we can support those who may be affected. Our overriding aim is to secure the continual service of South African personnel in the UK armed forces and for them to be able to deploy on operations. We hope to send a team of officials to South Africa to hold face to face discussions with the officials who will be drafting the new regulations as it is the details of these underlying regulations that will allow us to understand what real effect the new Act, when it comes into force, will have on personnel.
Representations have been made by the Secretary of State for Defence to the South African Defence Minister, Mr. Lekota, on the potential implications the legislation would have on recruitment and retention of personnel into the UK armed forces. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence wrote to Mr. Lekota in August 2006 and followed this up with a telephone conversation in December 2006 and he wrote again in April 2007. Our high commissioner to South Africa, Paul Boateng, has also made representations to the Government of South Africa on several occasions. His last letter was sent to Mr. Lekota on 22 January 2008.
The Mercenary Act was discussed at the UK-South Africa bilateral Defence Staff talks held in the MOD on 3-4 March 2008 with the aim of securing a date for an officials visit at the earliest opportunity.
Under current rules eligible SA citizens serving in the British armed forces can apply for British citizenship if they have been resident in the UK for a five year period, or three years if married or in a civil partnership to a British citizen. Service in the armed forces, at home and abroad, counts towards the residential qualifying period. We are discussing other options with the Home Office should South African personnel be barred from membership of the UK armed forces.
Derek Twigg: Following Veterans Day 2007, the event was discussed in July and October at the Veterans Executive Steering Group which is chaired by the MOD and attended by the Confederation of Service and Ex-Service Organisations (COBSEO) and the heads of a number of its key member organisations. Their main comments were that COBSEO members should have wider and earlier visibility of events, that there should be higher level VIP support at the major events and that the London event should have a more central location. All these issues have been addressed for this year's events and COBSEO has been an integral part of our planning process since October 2007. Both the Government and the main ex-service charities have recognised that Veterans Day would need to be built up over a number of years. We are committed to working in partnership with the non-government organisations and others to achieve proper public recognition for the nation's veterans.
Derek Twigg: When the Government first launched Veterans day in 2006 as a key element of its initiative to improve the nations recognition of its veterans and their achievements, it made clear that this was something that would need to be built up over a number of years. Veterans day 2008 promises to be a further step forward from last year with improved quality and size of events and growing public involvement.
The MOD does not organise Veterans day events itself but encourages and assists event organisers with advice and makes funding support available to those that meet the qualifying criteria; this funding increased last year and has again been increased for 2008. The aim is to encourage communities to take the initiative in the organising of events, whether in large cities or more widely, allowing them a wide degree of freedom to design events that engage young and old, while conveying our key messages about the achievements and diversity of veterans and the support available to them.
Recent measures to improve the quality of events have included a briefing of potential major event organisers last September, involving representatives from over 30 towns and cities across the United Kingdom; regular engagement with the key ex-service organisations; and wider work to promote the celebration of our veterans and to share best practice, including engagement with the local councils and civic offices, and presentations and coaching to other potential event organisers. I also hosted a Veterans day reception and briefing for all MPs in January, while detailed information on organising Veterans day events was sent to all MPs offices.
As you will be aware, the National Recognition Study, authored by my hon. Friend the Member for Grantham and Stamford (Mr. Davies), has just been released and makes a number of recommendations that could further enhance our recognition and celebration of the nations veterans. We welcome these but will need to give them detailed consideration before deciding precisely how to take them forward.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many (a) apprenticeships and (b) advanced apprenticeships there were in (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible in the most recent year for which figures are available. 
A pilot for apprenticeships, being run by Government Skillswhich has recently become part of the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skillsis due to start in September. The FCO is in the process of evaluating scope for us to be involved in the pilot as a precursor to rolling out an apprenticeship-based induction for our support staff intake next year. The apprenticeships will offer National Vocational Qualification Level 2 and 3 qualifications in Business Administration.
FCO Services, a Trading Fund of the FCO, runs an advanced apprenticeship scheme for IT engineers. They have recruited an average of eight advanced apprentices per year over the last three years and currently have 22 advanced apprentices on their headcount. In September 2008, eight of the current advanced apprentices are due to graduate to substantive positions within their specialism. FCO Services currently plans to recruit an additional 30 advanced apprentices during this financial year.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much has been spent by the British Council on promoting the (a) English and (b) Welsh language outside the UK in each of the last five years. 
On behalf of the Welsh Assembly and through the British Councils grant in aid, the following amounts have been spent in support of the promotion of the
Welsh language outside the UK in the last four financial years, and has been allocated for the current financial year:
Mr. Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 16 May 2008 to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Norfolk (Mr. Simpson), Official Report, column 1813W, on Burma: United Nations, what further steps he has taken to co-ordinate international pressure on the ruling authorities in Burma to permit the fullest possible assistance to reach those affected by Cyclone Nargis. 
Meg Munn: My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, and I, have continued lobbying regional leaders. My noble Friend, Lord Malloch-Brown, visited Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Burma for ministerial discussions recently. On 19 May the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Foreign Ministers agreed to create an aid co-ordination and delivery mechanism for Burma. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Burma with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 20 May. The UN Secretary-General attended the International Conference on Aid to Burma, co-ordinated by the UN and ASEAN, held in Rangoon on 25 May. We will continue to encourage the ASEAN countries urgently to set up a supply chain which we, and other donors, can use. We will continue to press for unfettered access to all the affected areas.
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