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Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach): A contract was signed on 15 July 2004, with Lockheed Martin for the first increment of the Joint Asset Management and Engineering Solution (JAMES 1).

The main benefit is that JAMES will enable the maintenance of operational capability during and following the reduction in land vehicle fleet sizes which will occur with the introduction of new equipment and of technical upgrades to existing equipment. Failure to
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manage these fleets centrally though a management information system such as JAMES would lead either to a reduction of training capability or the need to acquire more equipment.

The expected full cost (including costed risks) will be £40 million over six years. The expected benefits over the same period amount to £94 million.

Khamisiyah Demolitions

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) paper published in December 1999 entitled Review of Events Concerning 32 Field Hospital and the Release of Nerve Agent Arising From US Demolition of Iraqi Munitions at the Khamisiyah Depot In March 1991 took account of the United States Department of Defense's (DoD) modelling of the possible levels of exposure following the demolition of the weapons store at Khamisiyah. The paper also included our scientists' own assessment based on the US modelling. MoD plans to publish its own final assessment of the destruction of chemical warfare rockets at Khamisiyah by the end of the year. This will take account of the modelling work undertaken by the Department of Defense as well as the United States General Accounting (now Accountability) Office.

European Gendarmerie Force

Lord Astor of Hever asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bach: The European Gendarmerie Force is not an EU force, but a multilateral initiative by five countries (France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal) to create between them a joint paramilitary police force which could be made available to EU, NATO or UN operations. There are many multinational Force structures in Europe (such as Eurofor and SEEBRIG), involving different combinations of countries, which can be made available to the EU or NATO in this way. As the UK does not have paramilitary police, we are not a member of the European Gendarmerie Force.
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The participating countries used the meeting of EU Defence ministers in September as an opportunity to sign a five-nation declaration of intent and to brief others on their initiative. The UK was represented at that meeting by the Secretary of State for Defence.

Right of Petition: UN Conventions

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Constitutional Affairs, (Baroness Ashton of Upholland): As I explained in my Answer to the noble Lord on 16 September (WA 201), the Government believe that the practical value to UK citizens of individual petition to the United Nations is unclear. They also have concerns about the levels of cost to public funds if individual petition were used extensively to explore the meaning of the provisions of a treaty. For these reasons they have decided to accede only to the right of individual petition under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to enable it to consider the merits of individual petition on a more empirical basis.

Eurostar Maintenance

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Discussions are continuing with London and Continental Railways, English Welsh and Scottish Railway and other landowners and occupiers about proposals for a depot at Temple Mills. It is too early to say what other uses might be made of the land at North Pole should the depot there no longer be required.

Strategic Railway Research

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Davies of Oldham: Details of funding dedicated to such specific research activity is not collected centrally. Information on government-funded science, engineering and technology is published periodically by the Office of Science and Technology. The latest edition, The Forward Look 2003: Government-funded science, engineering and technology is available from the Library of House.

Houses of Parliament: Joint Committee Reports

Lord Acton asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The guidance issued to departments in the Cabinet Office's Guide to Legislative Procedures, states that the target of response within two months, as is usual for Commons committees, should apply to reports of Joint Committees on draft Bills, though it notes that the committee may be willing to allow longer, perhaps to fit in with the timetable for introduction of the Bill.

In the case of other Joint Committees, similarly, the Government consider that the two-month target should apply, unless a longer timetable is agreed with the committee.

Licensed Premises and Smoking

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): The Government launched a public health consultation, Choosing Health? which covers a wide range of issues including smoking. Representatives of the hospitality industry and their views and proposals about how health may be improved were included in an extensive range of consultations. The Government's conclusions on this matter will be covered in the forthcoming White Paper.

Viscount Astor asked Her Majesty's Government:

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Lord Warner: The Government are aware of the reports from Ireland on the effect of the smoking ban in workplaces, including those from the Office of Tobacco Control.

British Pregnancy Advisory Service

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Warner: The Department of Health has not provided any funding to British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) in the last five years. We do not collect data on the amount of money BPAS receives through its contracts with primary care trusts.

The Chief Medical Officer is currently investigating this matter and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

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