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6 Jun 2008 : Column 1180W—continued

Non-Domestic Rates

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether transitional relief in the 2010 business rates revaluation will be funded by the public purse. [208102]

John Healey: The Local Government Act 2003 made transitional relief schemes a permanent feature of non-domestic (business) rates revaluations, and requires such schemes to be designed to be financed from other business rates payers, so that the gross income from the revalued lists remains the same overall.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when she will answer questions 201301, 201302 and 201303, tabled on 21 April 2008, on the My Choice Homebuy Scheme. [209315]

Caroline Flint: I have now replied to the hon. Member's questions.

Culture, Media and Sport

Archives: Iraq

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what progress has been made in the project to digitise the proposed documents for Iraq’s National Library and Archives. [208222]

Margaret Hodge: The Department has funded the British Library’s initiative to digitise materials in its collection as part of its continuing contribution to the reconstruction of the collection of the Iraq National Library and Archive (INLA). At the request of Dr. Saad Eskander, director of the INLA, the Library is in the process of digitising approximately 450 historical
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maps of Iraq and around 20,000 pages of archival records from the India Office Records which relate to Iraq. Over 200 maps have been completed and delivered to Dr. Eskander already and it is expected that the project will be completed by the autumn.

Departmental Manpower

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the 23rd Report of the Public Accounts Committee, Session 2006-07, HC 488 on the Office Accommodation of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and its sponsored bodies, how many posts identified for relocation (a) have been relocated and (b) will be relocated by the end of (i) 2008, (ii) 2009 and (iii) 2010. [208212]

Margaret Hodge: To date, 661 posts from DCMS sponsored bodies have relocated already.

Current projections are that:

The DCMS has no plans to relocate posts. The planned target of 967 relocated posts exceeds by over 50 per cent. the Department’s agreed target of 600 relocated posts.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Mr. Hunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on (a) sport, (b) heritage, (c) arts and (d) tourism in each of the last five years, expressed as a percentage of its Request for Resources in each year. [208265]

Margaret Hodge [holding answer 4 June 2008]: The information is as follows.

2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07

RfR 1 total final provision (£000)







Outturn (£000)






Percentage of RfR 1







Outturn (£000)






Percentage of RfR 1







Outturn (£000)






Percentage of RfR 1







Outturn (£000)






Percentage of RfR 1






2006-07 was used as the final year as the Department does not yet have audited outturn figures for 2007-08.

6 Jun 2008 : Column 1182W

Percentages are based on the final provision for Request for Resource 1 of the year in question.


Armed Forces: Compensation

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of applications to the War Pension Scheme have been refused since 2001; and what percentage of applications to the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme have been refused since 2005. [200936]

Derek Twigg: This information is not currently available but it is planned to publish in July 2008.

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many compensation claims were rejected where the standard of proof was a consideration in the decision in each year since 2005. [205133]

Derek Twigg: The standard of proof is used in the consideration of all awards and rejections of claims made under the Armed Forces Compensation scheme and this is based on the balance of probabilities. A total of 1,650 compensation claims have been rejected between the scheme's introduction on 6 April 2005 and 31 December 2007. The figures quoted include all rejected first claims under AFCS. They also include cases of automatic consideration of entitlement to AFCS, where the individual is medically discharged. In many cases medical discharge results from injury or illness totally unconnected with service. The rejections for each financial year since 2005-06 are as follows:






April 2007 - December 2007


Armed Forces: Deployment

Mr. Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are located outside the United Kingdom. [208758]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: There were 27,500 UK Regular Forces personnel located outside the United Kingdom as at 1 October 2007.

Armed Forces: Disability Living Allowance

Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) shortest, (b) longest and (c) average length of time was to determine disability allowances for (i) service personnel and (ii) veterans in each of the last five years. [203986]

Derek Twigg: Each claim under either the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) or the War Pension Scheme (WPS) is assessed on an individual basis against the medical evidence gathered to support such an assessment. The availability of that medical information directly affects the processing times. Data are not readily
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available to determine the shortest and longest length of time taken to determine disability allowances under either scheme. To try and create such information would incur disproportionate effort and costs. However the average clearance times for processing total disability related claims (rejections and awards), under each scheme in working days are shown in the following table. The rise in the clearance times for AFCS between 2006-07 and 2007-08 reflects the increase in AFCS claims and the requirement to consider a worsening condition under AFCS. Worsening is where service after the AFCS introduction date may have caused or aggravated a condition being claimed under the WPS scheme.

Service personnel/veterans (AFCS) Veterans (WPS)


64 days

55 days


35 days

54 days


No target data

56 days


Not applicable

63 days


Not applicable

66 days

In view of the increased number of claims and the requirement to consider a worsening condition additional resources have been added to the AFCS team.

Army: Deployment

Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what operational tours the (a) 2nd and (b) 4th Battalion The Rifles completed in the last five years; and what operational duties are scheduled for each battalion. [209393]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The battalions in question operationally deployed, in the last five years, are as follows:

Unit Deployment Date

2nd Battalion The Rifles (formerly 1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets)

Op Banner (NI)

March to September 2004

Op Telic 9 (Iraq)

November 2006 to March 2007

4th Battalion The Rifles (formerly 2nd Battalion Royal Green Jackets)

Op Oculus (Balkans)

2001 (six months)

Op Telic 10 (Iraq)

June to November 2007

In addition, the 2nd Battalion The Rifles is currently deployed to Kosovo as part of the UK commitment to the NATO/EU shared pan-Balkans Operational Reserve Force (ORF).

Announcements on future deployments will be made in the usual way.


Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy will be on UK armed forces participating in operations where allied forces use cluster bombs after the signing of the treaty to ban their use; and if he will make a statement. [208349]

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Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The Convention on Cluster Munitions, as adopted by the UK and 108 other states in Dublin on Friday 30 May 2008, does not alter our ability to work with coalition partners on operations involving states who are not signatories to the agreement.

Departmental Postal Services

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on sending mail overseas in each year since 2001, broken down by delivery company. [208513]

Mr. Bob Ainsworth: The information requested is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

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