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Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which individuals other than his Departments and HM Revenue and Customs officials were present at meetings held with third party interest groups on changes to the system of vehicle excise duty before the 2008 Budget. 
Angela Eagle: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Governments practice to provide details of all such meetings.
Lynne Featherstone: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people aged (a) under 18, (b) under 21 and (c) over 60 years were found to be being paid below the national minimum wage in each of the last five years, broken down by (i) sex and (ii) ethnicity. 
Jane Kennedy: HMRC does not collect information which would allow them to determine the ethnic origins or age profile of underpaid workers. HMRC does hold information on gender profile of underpaid workers but not in the format requested. The following table shows the gender profile of underpaid workers.
Mr. Philip Hammond: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what assessment he has made of the merits of alignment of the upper earnings limit for National Insurance contributions with the higher rate threshold for income tax; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) if he will estimate the value in terms of reduced costs to (a) business and (b) HM Revenue and Customs of alignment of the upper earnings limit for national insurance contributions with the higher rate threshold for income tax. 
Jane Kennedy: The Government remain committed to bringing the income tax and the national insurance contributions (NICs) systems closer together. The overall aim is to improve fairness and coherence, to reduce administrative burdens, and to make the two systems easier to understand.
There has already been progress in aligning tax and NICs in terms of a simplified structure of employers NICs, replacing multiple rates with a single rate and abolishing the entry fee. With just two main rates of income tax and two main rates of national insurance in this tax year, the UKs personal tax system is already one of the simplest personal tax structures of any developed country.
Mr. Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the estimated cost to his Department is of providing care and support to troops injured during service in (a) Afghanistan and (b) Iraq in 2008-09. 
Derek Twigg: The net additional costs of operations are recovered from the Treasury Reserve. The highly changeable nature of operations means that we are not able to provide accurate forecast costs for specific elements of operations for 2008-09. Our initial estimate of the net additional costs for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for 2008-09, will be published in winter supplementary estimates.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 768W, on armed forces: influenza, what quantity of (a) vaccines and (b) antivirals are held by his Department for use by the armed forces for the treatment of seasonal influenza; where these stocks are held; and if he will make a statement. 
The Defence Medical Services operate in accordance with the guidance issued by the Dept of Health and the Health Protection Agency (which issues annual advice on the prescription of antivirals). For the treatment of seasonal influenza, Defence Medical Services
obtain vaccines and antivirals as required, through the UK Departments of Health (DH). Stocks will be held locally at unit medical centres and other medical facilities, and quantities will vary according to clinical requirement and day-to-day usage. Vaccinations and antivirals are prescribed for individuals by medical staff according to clinical need, following national guidance issued by the DH.
It would not be practical to stockpile vaccines against seasonal influenza, since antigenic drifts (minor changes) of influenza viruses lead to the emergence of new viral strains every year. These minor changes cause seasonal influenza and explain why reformulation of the influenza vaccine is required every year.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 3 April 2008, Official Report, columns 127-8W, on the armed forces: influenza, how many antiviral courses are available to the armed forces to meet future operational demands; how many antiviral courses are held (a) in the UK and (b) overseas; in which countries the antiviral courses are held overseas; how many antiviral courses are held in each country; whether these antivirals are available for use by armed forces in the event of (i) seasonal and (ii) pandemic influenza; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 3 April 2008, Official Report, columns 1207-8W, on the armed forces: influenza, what total quantity of antiviral courses is held in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan for use by the armed forces; what proportion of the total number of antiviral courses held in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan is allocated for the treatment of (A) pandemic influenza and (B) seasonal influenza; how many antivirals are held in other countries; in which countries they are held; and if he will make a statement; 
Derek Twigg: Around 17,500 courses of pandemic influenza antivirals earmarked for future operational demands are held in the UK by the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) on behalf of the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. PJHQ will authorise distribution of the appropriate quantities to operational theatres as required.
In accordance with Defence Medical Services guidance, 10 antiviral courses have been pre-positioned in medical facilities overseas; five courses in the Role 2 (Enhanced) field hospital unit at Basra in Iraq and five in the one at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.
A further 18,000 antiviral courses for use in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza have been distributed to overseas locations where MOD personnel and their dependents are based. The quantities have been calculated in accordance with Department of Health guidance, and stockholdings are kept under regular review.
For seasonal influenza, guidance is that only at risk patients will be treated, and antivirals will be obtained through the normal supply chain in accordance with
clinical requirement. Pre-deployment medical standards mean that such individuals would not be allowed to deploy on operations.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 7 January 2008, Official Report, column 24W, on the armed forces: influenza, what assessment he has made of the speed at which the stockpile of antivirals held at Permanent Joint Headquarters may be deployed to theatre in the event of an influenza pandemic; how many face masks are held in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Iraq and (c) other theatres; what other appropriate preventative measures he is considering; and if he will make a statement. 
Derek Twigg: As stated in my answer to the hon. Member for Westbury (Dr. Murrison) of 3 April 2008, Official Report, column 1207W, around 17,500 courses of influenza antivirals earmarked for future operational demands are held in the UK by the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency (DSDA) on behalf of the Defence Equipment and Support organisation. PJHQ will authorise distribution of the appropriate quantities to operational theatres as required. As with any logistic supplies, if the requirement is urgent antivirals can be deployed rapidly to theatre in accordance with well-established procedures.
Face masks are a standard item of clinical equipment, and have a wide range of medical uses. Stocks sufficient for all requirements are held in field hospitals and other medical units in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Precise holdings will fluctuate on a daily basis, being replenished through the standard logistics chain as required.
Specific guidance on infection control in the event of an outbreak of pandemic influenza has been promulgated to all Defence Medical Services personnel and military commanders. This covers all appropriate medical procedures including hygiene, patient placement, and waste disposal, and includes specialised guidance on procedures in operational settings.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 3 April, Official Report, column 1207-08W, on armed forces; influenza, whether the stockpile of A/H5N1 vaccines for use by the armed forces in the event of an influenza pandemic is held in the UK. 
Derek Twigg: The A/H5N1 vaccine stockpile is held in the UK by the Department of Health, which includes a ring-fenced allocation held on behalf of the MOD, and in the event of an outbreak will be deployed by MOD in accordance with DH guidelines and MOD need.
Mr. Lansley: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer to the hon. Member for Westbury, (Dr. Murrison) of 1 April 2008, Official Report, column 786W, on armed forces: influenza, for which categories of armed forces personnel plans have been drawn up for the prophylactic use of antivirals; and if he will make a statement. 
In the event of a threatened influenza pandemic, antivirals for prophylactic purposes may be
prescribed for certain categories of key workers (such as military medical staff) in accordance with guidance issued by the UK Department of Health and MODs Surgeon General. Their use will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the nature and location of the outbreak.
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