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Cultural Property: Ratification ofHague Convention

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister for Trade (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): Her Majesty's Government are giving active consideration to the ratification of the 1954 Hague Convention along with its protocols. Ratification would require primary legislation that would depend upon parliamentary time available. As a result, we cannot commit to a specific timetable.

The UK remains fully committed to the protection of cultural property in time of armed conflict in accordance with international law, including the relevant provisions of the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Convention which the UK ratified in 1998.

Teachers' Workload:NAHT Recommendations

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Education and Skills (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) have not made recommendations on the teachers' working year or working week in their recent submission to the teachers' workload study. My right honourable friend agrees that numbers of bursars and administrative staff should be increased.

RAF Menwith Hill: Construction Works

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How, if as stated by the Lord Bach the new construction works at Menwith Hill may not be debated in Parliament (H.L. Deb., 5th July, column 873), they can test the opinion of the British people through Parliament as to whether or not they wish to be part of the new developments required by the United States National Missile Defence system.[HL305]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): The construction works referred to relate to the European Relay Ground Station of the Space Based Infra-Red System (SBIRS). Permission to site this at RAF Menwith Hill was given in March 1997. SBIRS is designed to detect the launch of ballistic missiles. It will replace an existing infra-red detection system that helped, for example, to warn of Scud launches during the Gulf War. The system is necessary irrespective of any decisions by the US on missile defence, and is being handled as a separate project. We have received no request from the US for the use of facilities in the UK for missile defence purposes.

US Defence Equipment Supplies to UK

Lord Hardy of Wath asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they expect the Defense Protection and Allocation System in place in the United States adversely to affect the security of supply of essential defence equipment for the United Kingdom.[HL319]

Lord Bach: We do not expect the United States Defense Priorities and Allocations System (DPAS) to adversely affect the security of supply of essential defence equipment for the UK. The UK has benefited from DPAS in the past. For example, the United States Government used the DPAS to ensure timely delivery of defence articles for the UK during the Gulf War.

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Bowman Radio Communications System

Lord Howie of Troon asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What progress has been made on the Bowman project.[HL490]

Lord Bach: The Bowman project will provide the Armed Forces with a modern, highly capable tactical combat radio communications system to replace Clansman, which has been in service since the mid-1970s. It will provide secure, reliable communications to our land forces and selected elements of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force. The system will also implement a tactical internet and provide automatic position location, navigation and reporting.

Last summer, in the light of major problems with the programme, the competition for the Bowman combat radio was re-launched. Following careful analysis of the bids submitted by Thales, TRW and CDC, I have decided that CDC, a subsidiary of General Dynamics already operating in the UK, should be selected as the preferred supplier of this system.

Our priority has been to deliver a successful solution that fills the capability gap at the earliest opportunity. CDC has offered a solution that fully meets the military requirement and represents the best value for money. I am confident that it will meet our demanding timetable for getting this vital equipment into service with the Armed Forces. It is based on the development of a proven system, and includes best of class radios and a very efficient approach to fielding and support. Its bid is the clear winner of the competition.

The Ministry of Defence and CDC will now work together on the programme to bring Bowman into service. We aim to be in a position to let the contract in late summer this year, in support of an In Service Date in early 2004. The contract is valued at around £1.8 billion. It will cover both the supply of the Bowman system and the first five years of support up to the year 2009.

CDC's solution will provide employment opportunities in the UK in a broad range of system areas, including design, development, manufacture and project management. Ninety per cent of the work content of the CDC bid will be UK based--the highest proportion of any of the three bids. Around 1,600 jobs will be secured across the UK, including 400 new high technology and support posts at the company's headquarters, which CDC plan to establish in South Wales. The company has also earmarked South Wales for a new Army Communications Technology research and development centre, which will be staffed by around 65 leading scientists. Other regions will benefit too. We expect sub-contract work to secure over 100 jobs in Scotland, over 300 jobs in South West England, and around 75 jobs in the South East centred on Hastings. Major UK sub-contractors include Alvis and GKN-Westlands.

This month will also see the first deliveries, ahead of schedule, of the Personal Role Radios, a new capability which was separated from the main

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Bowman requirement in 1999 in order to ensure early delivery to the front line. These radios will provide short range communications for dismounted infantry, and will transform their operations.

Gulf War Veterans: Mortality

Lord Blease asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What are the latest figures for deaths of Gulf veterans, and amongst the control group.[HL406]

Lord Bach: Peer reviewed scientific data comparing the mortality of UK Gulf veterans with an era group of service personnel who did not deploy to the Gulf were published for the first time in the Lancet on 1 July 2000. Updates to these figures were provided by the Ministry of Defence to the House on 20 July 2000 and 22 January 2001. The MoD had undertaken to continue to monitor the mortality of both Gulf veterans and the era group and will publish updated figures on a regular basis. The figures as at 30 June 2001 are shown in the table.

Overall, in the period 1 April 1991 to 30 June 2001 the mortality of UK Gulf veterans was no different than that of the control group. The number of Gulf veterans dying from disease related causes is rather fewer than for the control group, whereas the number of Gulf veterans dying of external causes is rather higher than for the control group. The MoD will conduct a more detailed analysis of accidental deaths, to establish where there are any underlying trends that might help to explain this.

Deaths of UK Gulf veterans (Note: 1) 1 April 1999-30 June 2001 Causes (coded to ICD-9) (Note: 2)

ICD Chapter Cause of death Gulf EraMortality Rate Ratio
All deaths4964941.00
All cause coded deaths4854731.02
I-XVIDisease-related causes1792160.83
IInfectious and parasitic diseases321.49
IICancers71770.92
IIIEndocrine and immune disorders140.25
VMental disorders9110.81
VIDiseases of the nervous system and sense organs761.16
VIIDiseases of the circulatory system66860.76
VIIIDiseases of the respiratory system1051.99
IXDiseases of the digestive system9140.64
IV, X-XVIAll other disease- related causes3110.27
EXVIIExternal causes of injury and poisoning3062571.18
Railway accidents413.98
Motor vehicle accidents110881.24
Water transport accidents413.98
Air and space accidents25171.46
Other vehicle accidents010.00
Accidental poisoning10130.77
Accidental falls861.33
Accidents due to fire/flames010.00
Accidents due to natural environmental factors221.00
Accidents due to submersion/ suffocation/foreign bodies1662.65
Other accidents31271.14
Late effects of accident/injury020.00
Suicide and injury undetermined whether accidental88841.04
Homicide541.24
Injury resulting from the operations of war340.75
Other deaths for which coded cause data are not yet available918
Overseas deaths for which cause data are not available23

Notes:

1. Service and ex-Service personnel only.

3. World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th revision 1977.


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